Madison County voters can decide whether to cut their property
taxes in November, the county officer’s electoral board decided on July 6.
Board members announced that their review of petitions for a
tax cut referendum found 8,302 valid signatures, 278 more than the necessary
They rejected 1,683 signatures among 9,985 that county Treasurer
Kurt Prenzler and other proponents submitted for a validation rate of 83
“The law in Illinois requires a much lower validity rate in
order to find a deliberate and utter indifference to the election code,” wrote the
board, comprised of County Clerk Debbie Ming-Mendoza, former judge James
Hackett and former assistant state’s attorney Stephanie Robbins.
“The objectors did not meet their burden of proof that there
was an organized framework of fraud.
“There were errors made in collection of petition
signatures, but those errors did not constitute fraud or a deliberate and utter
indifference to the election code.”
Hackett opened by saying that the board worked hard to avoid
politics. He said there had been a great deal of misinformation concerning the
proceedings. He also said he wanted to dispel a rumor that the proceedings cost
He praised Ming-Mendoza and her staff for doing commendable
“All this work was performed within their normal capacities.”
He criticized “the sniping and the comments disparaging her
office” saying they were “disappointing to me.”
The board criticized Prenzler and deputy treasurer Doug Hulme
for failing to “adequately train circulators of their petitions.”
Supporters of the property tax cut referendum were
represented by Don Weber and James Craney.
After the board issued its decision, Weber provided a
“Defending Kurt Prenzler’s integrity is the easiest job I
ever had in court,” he wrote. “The taxpayers and voters won. The Democrat party
bosses’ attempt to hijack Democracy failed.”