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Brown may lack signatures to stay on mayoral ballot, election spokesman says

mayor office candidate Dorothy Brown Cook 2019 election rich hein

Mayoral candidate and Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Dorothy Brown. | Rich Hein/Sun-Times

A preliminary report released by the Chicago Board of Elections on Wednesday night may signal that mayoral candidate Dorothy Brown does not have enough signatures to remain on the ballot, a Chicago Board of Election Commissioners spokesman said.

The report, an up-to-date summary of the objections to signatures on Brown’s mayoral petition, shows that Brown appears to be about 1,100 signatures shy of the 12,500 needed to keep her name on the ballot, according to board spokesman Jim Allen.

But that doesn’t mean the race is over for Brown.

She may be able to save her campaign with affidavits proving her signatures are valid, Allen said.

The board is still examining 132 of the signatures in question, comparing the handwriting of those signatures on Brown’s petition to the signatures on each person’s voter registration card, Allen said.

After that, every signature on Brown’s petition that has been objected to will be looked over by the board’s handwriting expert.

Brown announced Wednesday that she will hold a news conference at the Board of Elections office at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. A spokesperson for Brown said the candidate will urge the state’s attorney to pursue a criminal investigation.

There are currently two pending objections to Brown’s petition; the next hearings are scheduled for Friday afternoon.

At either of those hearings, Brown will have to opportunity to present affidavits that validate her signatures.

Though she has the opportunity to try to restore every signature, it may not be easy.

“There is no restoring the signature of a voter who isn’t registered or isn’t registered at the given address,” said Allen, and handwriting plays a big role.

According to Allen, multiple signatures that look like they’re written by the same person are the hardest to save – “If there’s an entire page where clearly all the signatures on that page are in the same handwriting … there’s no overcoming that,” he said.

Brown is also running out of time.

The board needs to have all of its cases resolved by Jan. 21, the absolute latest in order for ballots to be ready in time, said Allen.

Ballots for military members deployed overseas are going out as early as Friday, said Allen, meaning some names on their ballots may still be knocked off.

The tight deadline means Brown only has into next week to collect affidavits that may restore the objected signatures.

“We have to give the candidate time to react and respond and give them time to restore their name on the ballot,” said Allen, “but we’re under the gun to get these resolved as quickly as possible. We’ve got an election to run.”

The next hearing for the two pending objections against Brown are scheduled for 4:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Friday, according to the board’s website.