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New law changes campaign deadlines

If you’re thinking of running for either of Evanston’s school boards, you’ll have to get a move on a bit sooner next year.

Cook County Clerk David Orr says a new law will move election calendar deadlines up.

The changes were signed into law Sunday by Gov. Pat Quinn.

With the advent of no-excuse absentee voting and early voting, voters can cast ballots over a three-week period rather than just on Election Day. That means election administrators must have election materials, including ballots, ready a month earlier than before these conveniences were instituted, Orr says, but the deadlines for candidates to file nominating petitions and for referenda submissions stayed the same.

The result was that challenges to nominating petitions sometimes were still awaiting a court ruling after ballots had been printed and voting equipment prepared.

The new law will provide more time for the courts to decide on cases and for election authorities to prepare ballots.

The changes, effective with 2011 elections, mean the filing period for nomination petitions for general primary elections will open two weeks sooner, the filing period for nomination petitions for consolidated primary elections will open three weeks sooner, certain referenda petitions must now be filed two weeks sooner than before, and the deadline for appealing electoral board decisions to the courts will shrink from 10 days to 5 days after the decision.

Orr says the calendar changes will significantly reduce confusion at the polls and allow for greater administrative efficiency. 

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