Madison - St. Clair Record

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Madison County tax cut supporters could close the gap following petition circulator testimony

By Record News | Jun 23, 2016

Kim Thomas of Troy, who gathered petitions for a Madison County property tax cut, testified on Thursday that she confirmed the validity of 46 signatures that the county electoral board has questioned. 

If her testimony holds up, tax cut supporters would close a gap of 19 between the necessary number of signatures, 8,024, and those the board confirmed, 8,005. 

The board plans to resume the hearing Friday morning. 

On Thursday, tax cut counsel Don Weber of Alton placed Thomas on the stand and asked if she served in the Air Force. 

Thomas said she served 25 years, with time in Germany, Bosnia and Saudi Arabia. She stated that she circulated petitions and gathered 414 signatures. 

She said she received a binder with 89 signatures the board questioned, and that she contacted signers and checked the voter registry. 

“They lived where they marked,” Thomas said. “I knew many of them.” 

Electoral board counsel Stephen Wigginton of Troy asked how many were correct. 

She said 46, and she gave the board a spreadsheet with color bars. 

Attorney William Schooley of Granite City, representing tax cut opponents Bennett Dickmann and Richard Gillespie, objected. 

Board member and former Madison County associate judge James Hackett said the board would admit the spreadsheet. 

Schooley asked Thomas if they all signed in front of her, and she said yes. 

He asked if she allowed anyone to sign more than one line. 

She said one man signed for his wife. 

Schooley asked about a second one, and Thomas said she wasn’t aware of it until she did the review. 

In response to a question from Hackett she said, “There were 42 that were no good, 46 that were good, and one I don’t know.” 

Other witnesses testified that they confirmed signatures the board questioned. 

County treasurer Kurt Prenzler said he received a binder, reviewed 82 of its 117 pages, and found eight good signatures that the board questioned. 

State’s attorney candidate Ron Williams and Robert Hulme, father of deputy treasurer Doug Hulme, offered documents about their confirmations. 

Weber asked how people reacted when he confirmed their signatures. 

“They were upset because they felt they had signed their petitions in a correct way,” Hulme said. 

When Williams testified, Schooley told him the signatures on his documents weren’t notarized. 

Williams said that was right, and Schooley moved to strike the documents. 

Weber said, “He’s under oath.” 

County clerk Debra Ming-Mendoza, chair of the hearing, denied Schooley’s motion.     

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