Kyles expects to stay on ballot despite objection

A Champaign city council member said he expects to remain on the ballot for April's municipal election despite his petitions being challenged.

Champaign City Attorney Fred Stavins said former Champaign Mayor Dan McCollum is objecting to incumbent Will Kyles' petitions based on signatures.  Kyles is facing a challenge from former council member Gina Jackson in the race for the District 1 seat.

Kyles said he acted in good faith when gathering the required number of signatures, but he said there are a few problems with his petitions.  That includes some people who were not registered voters, even though Kyles said he asked people if they were registered before letting them sign the petition.



Kyles also said he's learned two important lessons.



Kyles said the city benefits when there is a contested election and voters have a choice.  He said if he is removed from the ballot, he will work to get on the ballot as a write-in candidate in April.

A preliminary hearing on the petiton objection is scheduled for Tuesday at noon.  McCollum could not be reached for comment.

Click here to hear more from Will Kyles.
 

Comments

Comments for this post are read only.

wayward wrote on December 07, 2012 at 2:12 pm

AFAIK, bad signatures just aren't counted.  So he'll only be in trouble if there aren't enough good ones remaining.

EdRyan wrote on December 07, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Yes, the election code does not care if you collected the bad signatures in good faith or not.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on December 07, 2012 at 2:12 pm
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I'll assume you're being optimistic, rather than crafty and disingenuous.

 

Your reponse suggests there's no big deal here. I wish that were the case. Unfortunatley, the parties have conspired to limit the number of signatures a candidate can collect.

 

Therefore, they have a fixed target. When a candidate files, it's fish in a barrel.  The Establishment can challenge, and will challenge, at its whim. They know how many targets they must pick off.

 

Voter roles include lots of dead people, as you must surely know. The rolls also include people who haven't lived here for a long time. It's impossible for an earnest local candidate to know who's who among these seemingly legitimate voters. It's easy for the party machines. They have access to more data. They have paid operatives to analyze these data.

wayward wrote on December 07, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I can tell you that the county Democratic party doesn't have the money for "paid operatives" to analyze data -- or do anything else, for that matter.

Jsmith68 wrote on December 07, 2012 at 3:12 pm

More words of wisdom from the non practicing attorney. 

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on December 07, 2012 at 11:12 pm
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It still seems strange that, during that same elections cycle, the News-Gazette did not apply the same label to Timothy V Johnson or Mark Kirk. I believe they were descibed as simply "attorney."

 

On the other hand, there's another non-practicing Illinois attorney who, in that same elections cycle, was generally labeled a "community organizer." So you never know.

Justsayit wrote on December 07, 2012 at 3:12 pm

While the City has not ruled on it yet, it does seem  petty on the whole.  Give District #1 a choice.  

pattsi wrote on December 07, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Rule one--collect your own signatures and do so by collecting at least 3 fold than required. Watch the people as they sign to make certain this is done correctly, meaning completely, and then take care in having the petitions notartized. Last but not least make certain one is using the appropriate petitions. There is little reason for error when one has run before and that there are many seasoned politicians in the community that can give advice.

The county clerk provides walk lists covering the appropriate district. Using these lists, one can pretty well judge who might be a "good" signature.

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on December 07, 2012 at 11:12 pm
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Except that independents have to pay for access to voter rolls, while "established" parties don't.  And that in order to pay for this access, the independent candidate must first establish a political committee with the state board of elections, while "established" parties don't.

 

And that independents must dedicate a trust account to that political committee. (And that  Tom Kacich then writes an article about how little money that committee has in its fund without ever asking about it or researching the reasons for the nominal amount in the mandated fund.)

 

And that sometimes the County Clerk "forgets" to attach the schema that converts a list of data to a usable walking list.

 

But apart from those significant details, I somewhat agree.

The_4-1-1 wrote on December 07, 2012 at 9:12 pm

 

Pattsi is correct. All incumbents are familiar with the petition process. Incumbents know they are vulnerable to Objections and take care to use walk list prior to going out to collect signatures. Walk list can be easily gotten from a telephone call to the County Clerk and any staff can send the requester a PDF via Internet or have the requester come in to review or receive a copy.  If anyone is unfamiliar with why and what a Walk List is, you can contact the County Clerk and they can explain further. The County Clerk's office is very helpful to any candidate seeking election. 

The problem with Mr. Kyles is that his petitions are not filled simply with a few errors as he casually tries to convey. The degree with which the petitions were executed raises more than speculation. In several of the petition pages submitted it appeared Mr. Kyles was not the circulator, but signed under oath that he was circulator on all 10 pages.

Regardless of the hearing fairs on Tuesday and noon in the City Chambers, Mr. Kyles may have opened the door for a higher court to determine if the way in which the signatures were produced, as well as if Mr. Kyles actually circulated all of the petitions he swore his name to, will be enough to force an investigation into possible felony charges for both Mr. Kyles and any persons who aided in collecting the forged signatures.

The County Clerk's office has computerized what once was a very laborious process. Prior to Digitizing the voter registration data base Objectors would have to wade through volumes of books to find one or two of the possibly many signatures they wanted to verify. 

For anyone who has not served an elected office or canvassed for someone seeking an office, it may be difficult to understand how time consuming it is to collect signatures for petitions. People slam doors in the face of circulators. Sometimes the potential signer may want to hold a 20 minute conversation filled with questions about the issues and at the end of that, still refuse to take campaign literature or sign. There are no end to the humiliating, and time consuming tales a candidate or circulator can tell. 

So when I hear an incumbent dismissive of the petition process, and, instead, distract the attention toward the claim of having worked hard after they were elected, I am personally insulted. Compared to the grunt work of campaigning, canvassing and collecting petition signatures, serving "after" being elected is thought to be easy by comparison.

I am very troubled to see Mr. Kyles on the news making sound bites that paint himself as an alter boy who was simply duped by people who lied and said they were registered voters in his District. That his only crime was that he believed them. My challenge to this field of bloggers is to go and sit with a County Clerk and go over Mr. Kyles petitions, and then post your findings.

wayward wrote on December 07, 2012 at 10:12 pm

OK, I'm confused.  Other than interviewing the people who signed, is there any way to verify that Kyles didn't circulate them as he said he did?  One way to get signatures quickly is to hang out in a busy place and get passersby to sign.  (Of course, this will result in more invalid signatures than you'd be likely to get going door-to-door.)

The_4-1-1 wrote on December 07, 2012 at 11:12 pm

 

Yes there is. In Mr. Kyles case, easier than most. Actually, Mr, Kyles probably thought he'd averted this pot hole because on those petitions in particular, most, if not all, of the signers were forged with no such persons registered. So then, no one to interview, or so Mr. Kyles may have assumed. Mistake Mr. Kyles made was that the person or persons circulating, or worse, simply filling out petitions with random names, actually signed as valid signer(s) on other page(s) of the petition. A qualified investigator is trained to spot and find those involved to interview. 

Here are a few examples of how in 2012 government is cracking down on what Mr. Kyles is being accused of:

1) A former Ohio University student paid to canvass for Voters First Ohio petition signatures was arrested August 14 by the Cincinnati Police Department. Timothy Noel Zureick was booked on 22 counts of signing false signatures and one count of election falsification, both fifth-degree felonies.

As reported by the Athens News, Zureick, age 21, was arrested for crimes allegedly committed while working in Athens for Working America, a campaign arm of the AFL-CIO in Washington, DC. Zureick’s August 14 arrest is the first known prosecution to stem from the numerous allegations of fraud during the union-driven Voters First campaign.

2) Four staffers of former U.S. Rep. Thad McCotter, R-Livonia were charged today in connection with the false nominating petitions that led to McCotter's departure from Congress.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette described the four as "not simply Keystone Kops running amok ... criminal acts were committed."

He said the petition forgeries and cut-and-paste jobs on the petitions "would make an elementary art teacher cringe."

Schuette said the McCotter staffers also likely did the same thing in the 2008 elections, using 2006 petition signatures.

3) Possible fraudulent signatures on her nominating petitions have landed State Senate candidate Eleanor Chavez in the middle of a serious controversy.

Chavez, a Democratic state representative who is giving up that seat to run for Senate, turned in petitions that include the alleged signatures of a number of people who say they didn’t sign the petitions. Law enforcement is investigating.

wayward wrote on December 08, 2012 at 2:12 am

Someone not being on the voter rolls doesn't mean that they don't exist.  If Kyles is fabricating or forging petition signatures, that's a big problem.  If some of the people signing for him aren't registered to vote, those signatures will be invalid, but it's unlikely that Kyles would get in legal trouble.

Marti Wilkinson wrote on December 08, 2012 at 12:12 am

This seems to be a popular game that gets played around here. Don't like a candidate? Then object to the validity of the candidacy, and get that person tossed off the ballot.

So, according to the article, only one person is objecting to the petitions gathered by council member Kyles. The person being the former mayor of Champaign. I wonder if this is a back door way of showing support for Gina Jackson? 

 

wayward wrote on December 08, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Champaign Ward 1 is a three-way -- Kyles, Jackson, and Hubbard.  I'd guess that Kyles being off the ballot would probably help Jackson, but it's hard to tell.

ETA: Hubbard apparently withdrew from the race and is supporting Jackson.

EdRyan wrote on December 08, 2012 at 9:12 am

Here are the city documents and instructions....

http://ci.champaign.il.us/cms/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Full-Packet-201...

District 1 requires a minimum of 84 signatures and a maximum of 134 signatures of qualified voters in the district.  This should be easy.

It doesn't matter how good your intentions are about getting qualified voters to sign only that you get 84 qualified signatures without any fraud.  It should be a very simple matter to walk around the district and do that.

The interesting thing about this process is that the integrity of the process depends on other interested parties examining the petitions and sometimes challenging them.  

 

The_4-1-1 wrote on December 08, 2012 at 12:12 pm

 

It seems only 50 or so of the signatures are uncontested. This means Mr. Kyles will have to justify at least 34, take a few.  Mr. Kyles needs 84 to remain on the ballot. Of the invalid signatures (the ones where they are not registered and some which may not even exist) they are the majority of the contested signatures. The printed vs signed are just a few, and the remaining are those who are registered but gave false addresses to make it appear they lived in the District.

Mr. Hubbard withdrew on the same day the Objections by Mr. McCollum were filed. He has said he's thrown his support behind Ms. Jackson.

I find some of the comments here quite interesting. What I want to know is why the City Attorney wanted to squash the Objection process before it reached the Electoral Board. Mr. Stavins knows he had no authority to do that. What I want to know is why the media outlets were blocked from getting information from the City Attorney until they bullied their way, days after the Objection was filed. What I want to know is why hasn't the City Attorney released the fact that Dwayne Hubbard withdrew the same day as the Objections were filed. We, as citizens and taxpayers have the right to transparency in government, The City of Champaign did not follow this process and that is what we really need to get answers to. Though I oppose Objections in general because they usually are backdoor vehicles to discredit and eliminate the opposing candidate(s), I have reviewed this Objection and looked carefully into the facts, absent the candidates or the Objector.  If I distracted myself with whether I liked the former Mayor or Ms Jackson's political opinions or Mr. Kyles City Council record, I would not be able to separate what this actually is. So, whether my contribution here is taken for any merit or not, I am making a stance based solely on the evidence and information I reviewed, which is available to every citizen to also review.

This is a very serious matter. This Objection is not some negative attack campaign as Mr. Kyles continues to claim to his supporters. The most disturbing piece of evidence that Mr. Kyles has yet to be asked is, why does page 1 of his petitions have a valid registered voter, whose obviously not contested, who uses a distinctive way they make their last name cap initial. This distinctive cap begins with a "W" and written like a backwards 3 as the first stroke of the "W". Oddly, perhaps coincidentally, we can find that exact same distinctive initial cap "W" written with its backwards 3 as the first stroke on four consecutive names (found on page 7), for the last name "Williams". Oddly, perhaps coincidentally, none of these "W"illiams are registered voters (or may even exist).

So at the worst, there are five people (pages 1 and 7) who all happened to sign Mr. Kyles petitions using the exact same distinct cap "W". For the benefit of the doubt, lets remove the "Washington" on page 1 out of the equation and focus on page 7. By Mr. Kyles own words he states he personally watched each person write their signatures and that his only error was not verifying if the signer was registered. 

Perhaps this blog may help Mr. Kyles form a rationale, but authorities once removed from the local level may take this more seriously. Especially when there are signatures written by what appears to be the same hand on other pages. Of those signatures, there is one valid signature, followed or proceeded by a signature of what appears to be by the same hand that are not registered voters (and may not exist).

This type of pattern found on the majority of all 10 pages of Mr. Kyles petitions begin to look more purposeful than accidental. Everyone expects bogus signatures and people who claim to live at an address who don't, or who claim to be the registered voter at the address and sign as that person. However, when that happens it is clear and no pattern can be found.

 

wayward wrote on December 08, 2012 at 1:12 pm

OK, forgery or fabrication of signatures would be a big deal.  If you've got someone who's not registered to vote at all, that signature should be easy to challenge.  If you've got someone who's moved and hasn't updated his/her address on their voter registration, that signature might be OK (though the person could have problems voting if they don't get the address corrected by the time of the election).

rsp wrote on December 08, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I've lived in district 1 for 18 years. I've always been a registered voter and nobody here has asked for my signature. I haven't seen any Kyle signs, just Jackson. 

The_4-1-1 wrote on December 09, 2012 at 9:12 pm

"Sort of like the way the Pennsylvania GOP helpfully funded the Green Party drive back in 06.  http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/001256.php"

This is hilarious, Wayward! Thanks for sharing more from the idiot meter

wayward wrote on December 09, 2012 at 11:12 pm

What do you mean?  The Green Party is left of the Democrats, so the Pennsylvania GOP was doing the same kind of thing Walker was trying to do -- split the vote on the other side.  But they weren't breaking the law, so unlike Walker, they didn't end up in prison.

wayward wrote on December 11, 2012 at 3:12 pm

So what was the outcome of the hearing?

The_4-1-1 wrote on December 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm

Nothing. Hearing is this Friday. Mr. Kyles has Professional Pit Bull Atty. Auler who is usually brought out to bark and bite his way to victory, regardless of it being ethical or based on his client's innocence. Nothing wrong with that. That's his job.  

That said, if Mr. McCollum decides to take the gentlemen approach using intelligence and reasonableness to prove the facts pro se, there unfortunately may not be an outcome the people deserve.

Apparently Mr. Kyles camp says that Atty Auler wants to ride the merits of this serious matter on a technicality. Lawyers usually use this tactic to keep the actual facts of the case suppressed.

The issues to watch for will be if the 80 plus contested-invalid signatures will ever see the court of public opinion's light of day and move beyond Mr. Kyles popular catch phrase, "I made a mistake. Lessons learned, and I promise never, ever to do it again." 

rsp wrote on December 12, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I know Dan. He has a lot of fight in him. He wouldn't be doing this unless he intended to win. I've also seen him get angry. As far as Auler goes, he's had his own legal past.