Fate of Ballot Question Left to Electoral Board
After days of contentious hearings, the city's electoral board will rule Thursday whether a non-binding referendum will be allowed on the March ballot.
The city’s electoral board is set to make a ruling Thursday as to whether the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group’s request to have a nonbinding referendum placed on the ballot will be allowed or denied.
After a roughly six hour hearing Monday, the hearing Tuesday was brief with motions dismissed or withdrawn and the proponent’s attorney opting not to call witnesses.
Four the last four days the electoral board, comprised of Mayor George Pradel, most senior city council member Doug Krause and City Clerk Pam LeFeber have met to hear arguments from the proponents attorney Doug E. Ibendahl, acting on behalf of the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group and the objector’s attorney Kevin McQuillan, acting on behalf of William Dawe. City of Naperville Attorney Margo Ely has advised the board during the proceedings and helped moderate between the parties.
In November the volunteer driven Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group filed petitions seeking to have a nonbinding referendum placed on the March primary ballot. The question asked: “Shall the City of Naperville immediately and permanently stop the implementation of the $22 million smart meter project and dismantle all related equipment?”
On Dec. 27, William Dawe filed an objection to the question appearing on the ballot. The electoral board is charged with ruling on the objection.
McQuillan had said Monday that he would be calling the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group’s proponents, but at the hearing Tuesday he said after the prior day’s testimony it was not necessary to call the witnesses. He opted to withdraw objection number three, from the court filing, which related to the petitions being invalid for failure to comply with the Notary Public Act.
Before closing the hearing, the board made a motion to strike and dismiss objections number one and four, which related to the objector’s assertion that the ballot question was a two-part question and that signatures on the ballots were altered.
The only objection remaining that the board must rule on is whether there are not enough signatures on the submitted petitions for the question to be placed on the March ballot.
McQuillan asserted that there are 519 signatures on the petitions from people who are not registered voters in Naperville. If more than 441 signatures are invalid the proponents would fall short of the statutory minimum to make it on the ballot, he said.
“Everything he just said was misleading at best,” Ibendahl said in response to McQuillen’s assertion that the group doesn’t have enough signatures to get the question on the ballot.
“He is trying to rely on what he is calling certification,” he continued. “Those are not the official results of a binder check. This is ridiculous. Number one neither party was present when they were done. More importantly once again council is trying to play a fast one on this board. In any case neither DuPage or Will was expressing any opinion on which residents are in which one. It’s amazing. He continues on this track. He sends a misleading subpoena asking for voter records of voters who don’t exist in a particular county and then when that country reports back, rightly so and understandably and as you’d expect that voter is not a registered voter in that county he tries to hang his hat on that and say they are not a registered voter at all. It is shameful.”
Repeatedly over the course of the hearings Ibendahl has asked the board to dismiss the objection.
The board gave Ibendahl the opportunity to bring witnesses before the board on Tuesday, but he declined. He said that it was going to come down to the board to make the decision.
The board will meet again at 1 p.m. Thursday in the city council chambers. The hearing is open to the public and can be viewed on government access TV station WCNC (Ch. 6 – WOW, Ch. 10 – Comcast, Ch. 99 – AT&T) or viewed live or on demand at the city’s website www.naperville.il.us/granicus.html.