Signatures penned in the same handwriting.
Whole pages of “fraudulent” signatures of names that don’t belong to registered voters.
Fifteen people who “account for 510 signatures.”
Listing addresses for voters’ homes that are actually vacant lots.
Those are among the allegations made Wednesday by the re-election campaign for Mayor Rahm Emanuel against election petitions submitted by mayoral challengers, including those filed by businessman Willie Wilson.
“A full and thorough review of all of Mr. Wilson’s 43,000 signatures has revealed an astonishing pattern of deception,” Michael Ruemmler, Emanuel’s campaign manager, said in a statement.
“After careful review, the campaign found that more than 35,000 signatures included fake and duplicate signatures, false addresses of petitioners, and a particularly sloppy overall petition submission, rife with name and address strikeouts.”
Wilson’s spokesman denied those accusations and said it’s all political chicanery.
“We know that our signatures are good,” said Gregory Livingston. “We’re not putting people out to do those kind of deceptive things.”
The Emanuel campaign sent to reporters a comprehensive list of the accusations against Wilson, and it included scanned copies of petition sheets it declared suspicious.
Petition signatures provided by Emanuel’s campaign show some of the signatures and handwritten addresses of those purportedly supporting Wilson’s candidacy are written in a similar script. Some documents also show a sloppy process of crossing out names and addresses.
The Emanuel campaign also claims some petitions are “100 percent fraud” because none of the names corresponds to registered voters.
There’s also the claim that 15 people account for 510 signatures, including one name the Emanuel campaign claims was signed 75 times.
Livingston chalked up the accusations to “old school Chicago politics” and said Emanuel’s campaign is trying to scare black voters.
“They decided to go with the biggest kind of scare they could,” Livingston said. “It’s going to backfire on them.”
The Emanuel campaign is also challenging another candidate’s petitions — those submitted by Chicago Police Officer Frederick Collins, who is also running for mayor.
“Mr. Collins’ signatures fly in the face of any acceptable standard. His pages feature the same handwriting, page after page, for pages on end,” Emanuel’s campaign manager said.
Documents provided show very similar handwriting used in each of 13 pages submitted by the Collins campaign.
But the veteran police officer denies the accusations.
“We stand by every last signature that we got,” Collins said.
Wednesday evening was the deadline for objections to be filed with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners.
Emanuel’s campaign said two Chicagoans filed objections regarding the Collins and Wilson petitions.