CARBONDALE — Jerrold Hennrich is running for a seat on the Carbondale City council and he said he wanted to review all the other candidates’ election packets — it was a matter of due diligence, he thought.
That’s when he found a problem.
When reviewing local bar owner Greg Knoob’s petition packet for the election, he saw that several of his signatures were not from Carbondale. After reviewing the packet provided to The Southern through the Freedom of Information Act, it was found that at least two persons listed De Soto, another Murphysboro and still others listed their county of residence as Williamson.
At the top of Knoob’s petition, which The Southern also obtained through the FOIA, it states that the “undersigned” are qualified voters of Carbondale. After tallying it up himself, Hennrich told The Southern that of the signatures Knoob collected, only about 14 were valid. A petitioner must have 26 to make it on the ballot.
Hennrich said Friday that when he noticed the problem with the signatures, he got a copy of the eligible voter list and began cross referencing the signatures with that list and found even more issues.
On Dec. 3, Hennrich filed a complaint with the City Clerk’s office. In it, Hennrich alleges the following: That Knoob's signatures include people from other counties and municipalities, include persons not registered to vote, persons registered to vote at addresses other than what they wrote on the petition, multiple persons listing the same address while only one person is registered to vote there and includes invalid or illegible addresses.
According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, complaints must be filed with the filing officers within five days of the last day of the election petition filing period. The aggrieved party must file an appeal to any decision made by the local election board within five days and the circuit court must take it up within 30 days after the filing of the petition.
The filing deadline for the April municipal election was November 26.
Hennrich said it wasn’t a matter of spite or ill will toward Knoob — he said he’s never met the man. But more, it’s a matter of principle.
“I would file a complaint against anyone who put people from a different town on their petition packet,” he said. “Whether he is a good guy or a bad guy is completely irrelevant to me.”
Hennrich even said if he were asked, he would have personally signed Knoob's packet — he said he thinks everyone deserves a shot at making it on the ballot. However, he said if someone can’t follow the rules they have no business being on the council.
The complaint set in a motion a hearing of the Carbondale Municipal Officers Electoral Board, which will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Carbondale City Hall Courtroom.
Attempts to reach Knoob for comment were unsuccessful. However he gave his take on the issue in a post on Facebook Thursday.
As he sees it, he did what he was supposed to do — he knocked on doors and got signatures. He says in the post that he even questioned some as their addresses didn't seem to be in Carbondale.
"But who am I to argue with them. lol," he wrote.
He plans to stay in the fray, even if he doesn't get to be on the ballot.
"If for some reason they don't accept my petition that is fine, but I am going to be involved in this election," Knoob wrote. "I just can't sit back and watch the city continue to deteriorate."