Handwriting Expert Needed in Silverstein Petition Challenge

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The trouble continued Monday for embattled state Sen. Ira Silverstein, who’s facing a highly unusual challenge to his petitions to run for re-election.

Silverstein ended a day at the Chicago Board of Elections 19 signatures short of the 1,000 required to appear on the March primary ballot.

It’s an unusual battle for Silverstein, who was accused of sexual harassment in October by a woman lobbying for a crime bill. That allegation led to an overhaul of the Illinois General Assembly’s ethics rules, as well as new training for lawmakers and the hiring of a new inspector general.

Some have called for Silverstein to resign in the wake of the accusation, though he has ignored those calls. Now, he faces an uphill battle to remain on the ballot.

“He had the opportunity to file 3,000 signatures and he didn’t file that many signatures, and the rule of thumb these days is that you should file at least three times the minimum which is 1,000,” election expert Michael Dorf said Monday.

Silverstein is a veteran lawmaker and has represented Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood for 18 years.

“For someone who is a ward committeeman not to be able to get this number of signatures that even bring him into this type of challenge is very unusual,” Dorf added.

The painstaking petition challenge has required Silverstein to verify each signature as one from a registered voter in his district. On Monday, officials determined that a handwriting expert would be necessary in making a final determination.

Jan. 11 is the last day to withdraw before the ballot is printed.

Four other Democrats are opposing Silverstein for the 8th District seat including, Ram Villivalam, Zehra Quadri, David Zulkey and Caroline Mcateer-Fournier.

Silverstein did not respond to requests for comment about his petition challenge.

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