State extends April filing period

The candidate filing period for the April local election has been extended.

Gov. Pat Quinn this month signed into law a bill that extends the amount of time candidates have to file their nominating papers with local offices. The new deadline for applications is 5 p.m. Dec. 26 instead of 5 p.m. Dec. 24.

An early spring Election Day, combined with legal requirements for candidates wanting their name on the ballot, would have meant government offices had to stay open Dec. 24, forcing overtime pay.

The change was due to the fact that many filing offices are closed during the Christmas holiday, said Katherine Schultz, McHenry County clerk. Officials tried unsuccessfully to push legislation through in the fall to change the filing deadline date.

“No one wanted to be open until 5 p.m. Christmas Eve,” Schultz said. “And so many were already closed on Dec. 24. This had to be done.”

The election date had to be pushed to April 9 from April 2 because of a conflict with the Jewish holiday Passover, Schultz said. In turn, that altered the filing deadline.

State law requires that the period for political candidates to file nominating petitions begin 113 days before municipal elections and run for eight days.

Although not a state holiday, many city government, school districts, townships and park boards take Christmas Eve off.

“Not only was it going to be an inconvenience, but there was a cost factor also involved,” Schultz said.

Petition filing begins at 8 a.m. Dec. 17.

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