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Illinois amendment petitions present daunting task

Published: Sunday, May 4, 2014 11:13 p.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD – A team of nearly 20 elections workers in Springfield are sifting through thousands of pages of petitions aimed at putting a pair of proposed constitutional amendments on the November ballot.

“It’s a daunting task to do this,” Illinois State Board of Elections chief Rupert Borgsmiller told the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers.

He said if you laid each piece of paper end-to-end it would stretch 33 miles. That includes nearly 68,000 pieces of paper with more than 590,000 signatures from the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits.

That group, headed by GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner, wants voters to consider limiting state lawmakers’ terms to eight years. Its box of petitions was 36 feet long.

It also includes a 27-foot-long box filled with about 37,000 pieces of paper with more than 532,000 signatures from the group Yes For Independent Maps. That group wants voters to approve a new way to draw the state’s political maps.

State election workers must review the signatures to make sure each ballot initiative has enough to appear on the ballot. They are scanning each piece of paper to make digital records. Then they’ll do a random test of 5 percent of the signatures to make sure they are from registered voters.

The full Board of Elections will eventually consider the validity of the proposed amendments.

Borgsmiller said there’s no way to tell how long the process will take.

“We’re trying to break this process down into manageable bundles,” Borgsmiller said, adding that he hopes they learn what was done properly and what was not.

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Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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