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Green candidate survives petition challenge
By James Fuller | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 12/11/2009 12:00 AM

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It turns out Dan Kairis is pretty tight with his family and friends after all. It appears the Green Party candidate will keep his place on the ballot in the race for the 14th Congressional District.

An absolute final ruling on a challenge to Kairis' nominating petitions probably won't come until next week. That allows for any challenge to election law to surface that could, in a long shot, still bump Kairis from the ballot. However, Illinois State Board of Elections officials have already ruled that Kairis has enough valid signatures on his petitions. That's good news for Kairis in particular because the vast majority of the 62 signatures Kairis has on his petitions are people he is either related to or knows personally.

That didn't stop an attempt seemingly fueled by Illinois Democratic Party officials to get Kairis tossed from the ballot for invalid signatures. Election officials ultimately tossed out 20 of the signatures challenged and Kairis secured affidavits from most of the other people who signed his petitions to prove their validity.

Kairis said, although it appears he'll keep his spot, he's frustrated by the drain on taxpayer dollars and resources the challenge caused because the whole ordeal, in his opinion, was a big waste of time.

"We went in there with a six gun, and they didn't even bother showing up," Kairis said of the challenge process. "The sad part is all the objections were paid for by the taxpayers. My tax dollars are going to support the objections to my own petitions. It's a situation where the entrenched established parties really do this for no other purpose but to drain the resources of anyone challenging them."

Kairis said he would favor a system where, for instance, if a petition challenge questions 5,000 signatures, then the person challenging the petition must put up $5,000 for the signature review. For every signature that proves valid, the petition challenger loses a dollar.

"If it's all a legitimate challenge, then you get all your money back," Kairis said.