River Forest woman knocked off Clerk ballot

Electoral board deems Jackson-Rowe's signatures invalid

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By Nona Tepper

River Forest's own Stephanie Joy Jackson-Rowe has been knocked off the ballot for Cook County Clerk, after a Maywood man successfully challenged the validity of her nomination signatures.

Jackson-Rowe did not respond to an interview request. She filed her petition to run as Cook County clerk in late 2017, after longtime incumbent David Orr announced he was retiring after 27 years. The Cook County clerk presides over suburban Cook County elections, maintains vital records and property tax information, and records the activities of the Cook County Board.

Maywood resident Reginald Lamont Featherston Sr. pressed the successful petition against Jackson-Rowe, making run-of-the-mill complaints about invalid petition signatures and concerns about place of residence, which proved fatal to Jackson-Rowe's chances of getting on the March ballot. Featherston Sr. is represented by election attorney James Nally.

"Signatures are not genuine and are forgeries," reads the complaint.

Featherston Sr. is a Proviso Township employee, according to a recent article in the Village Free Press. He has filed several objections to candidates recently, most of whom represent a challenge to the powerful Maywood United Party. The Maywood United Party's ticket includes Henderson Yarbrough, a Maywood village trustee, who is married to Karen Yarbrough, Cook County Recorder of Deeds.

Jackson-Rowe would have faced Karen Yarbrough in the crowded Democratic Party nominee for Cook County clerk. Attorney Jan Kowalski and Nick Shields, Orr's director of communications, also threw their names in the ring for clerk. Shields later withdrew from the race. 

In a January Facebook post, Jackson-Rowe called the records exam "long," "drawn out" and wrote, "I'm being challenged by the Democratic machine."

Her signatures sustained two objections, according to James Scalzitti, a spokesman for the Cook County Clerk. He did not respond to an interview request about who filed the other objection. 

CONTACT: ntepper@wjinc.com

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