A River Forest trustee who is a vocal opponent of allowing a referendum on a village-township merger has told the state election officials that both his and his wife's signatures were forged on petitions seeking to place an advisory question on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Tom Dwyer, who sent the letter to the Illinois State Board of Elections on Wednesday, said he also would file an objection with the local election board and a criminal complaint with River Forest police.
Copies of the petitions were also attached to the letter, which was sent to the state board's executive director.
Petitions containing 455 signatures — far more than the requisite number needed to place a question on the ballot — were filed at River Forest Village Hall before Monday's 5 p.m. deadline.
If the local election board, which will meet later this month, upholds his objections, the Dwyers' signatures would be removed from the petition; it would not invalidate the entire sheet.
Dwyer said he received copies of the petitions, which also were sent to the other trustees and Village President Catherine Adduci. The only other trustee's name to appear on any of the signature sheets was Tom Cargie, who was one of about a dozen circulators.
Dwyer said he learned about the question at hand when he got a call from Trustee Carmela Corsini, who asked him why he signed a petition.
"She knew I was pretty outspoken about the township, and that I did not want to pursue HB 4425," which is legislation that if successful would have allowed for a binding initiative on consolidation.
"I looked at them and saw my and my wife's name," Dwyer said. "They were not our signatures."
Dwyer said he asked Village Attorney Lance Malina about his options, and Dwyer said he received some information about where the law could be found. Dwyer said he found that he could file a complaint with the state board of elections, even though he was aware the board had no enforcement authority in local elections. He said he did that only to make them aware of the situation.
Aug. 11 is the deadline to file objections to signatures. Any objections will be reviewed by the village's electoral board, which will make a determination. If the petition is certified by Village Clerk Sharon Halperin by or before the Aug. 28 deadline, it will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.
The advisory question would be the first of a three-step process that would, if all elements are successful, lead to consolidation between the village and township governments.