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Candidates confused over petition deadline

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Some would-be candidates in next April’s Evanston municipal election have been having an anxious past few days after a dispute broke out over the filing deadline for petition signatures.

The controversy apparently started when Alderman Brian Miller, 9th Ward, showed up at the city clerk’s office early last week and demanded that City Clerk Rodney Greene accept his petitions to run for mayor.

The state board of elections says the petition filing period for the April 4 election runs from Dec. 12 to Dec. 19.

But some other communities in the state are scheduled to hold hold a primary election on Feb. 28, and in those towns the filing period runs from Nov. 21-28.

Evanston would only hold a February primary if more than four candidates filed nominating petitions for mayor or another office. So far only four would-be candidates have announced plans to run, and how many of them will qualify for the ballot won’t be known until after their petitions are filed.

But Miller persuaded Greene to accept his petitions last week, and so far, Greene says, another five candidates have filed petitions during the November filing period that ends today.

Some candidates said they’d heard that petitions would no longer be accepted in December. But Greene says he will also accept petitions during the Dec. 12 to Dec. 19 filing period, so that candidates won’t be disadvantaged if they wait to turn in their petitions.

Under state law candidates are required to submit more than a minimum number of petitions, which varies by the office sought. Candidates who rush to file early and have just barely more than the minimum number of signatures could end up finding themselves kicked off the ballot as a result of challenges to their signatures which might leave them below the minimum required number.

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