Naperville residents will not vote on a referendum question about the city’s smart meter project during the March primary. Today in DuPage County Circuit Court, Judge Bonnie Wheaton ruled to uphold a decision made by the Naperville Municipal Officers Electoral Board earlier this month.
In November the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group filed a petition to add a question to the March ballot:
“Shall the City of Naperville immediately and permanently stop the implementation of the $22 million smart meter project and dismantle all related equipment?”
Then in December, Naperville resident Bill Dawe filed an objection to the question, and the board had to decide whether or not it could be on the ballot. They ruled that there were not enough valid signatures belonging to registered voters on the petition, a decision that Judge Wheaton agreed with today.
“The law is very clear,” said Kevin McQuillan, Dawe’s attorney. “You have to have enough valid signatures from residents of Naperville, at those addresses in the City of Naperville, that are registered voters.”
But the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group’s attorney, Doug Ibendahl, argued today that the board invalidated signatures behind closed doors, and therefore their decision should be overturned. Judge Wheaton said today that since the board was acting as a quasi-judicial group, looking at the petitions outside city council chambers was like a jury deliberating outside the courtroom.
“The really disappointing thing is the bar has been set lower in Illinois,” said Ibendahl. “The message sent today is that it’s ok to have these electoral board hearings invalidate signatures behind closed doors.”
Now it’s up to the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group to decide whether or not to take the case to appellate court.
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