Bolingbrook's Cedra Crenshaw has become one of this election's conservative darlings, fighting the system by launching her own efforts to challenge an incumbent Democrat State Senator A.J. Wilhelmi. Her first public appearances were at Will County Tea Party events, where she declared war on the corrupt Chicago machine as "just one mom."
Wilhelmi, she says, is clearly a part of the Chicago machine although he's based in Joliet. A faithful go-along vote with the Democrats, Wilhelmi is a part of the state's problems, and ousting him along with other lawmakers who've created the embarrassing state budget crisis is just what Illinois needs, Crenshaw says.
And that's just enough energy and threat from Republican ranks to scare the Democrats into doing everything they can to scratch Crenshaw off the November ballot. She's got enough acceptable petition signatures to get on the ballot. But her candidacy is still in limbo because the Senate Democrats insist that accompanying paperwork may not have been filed on time, although the reason for the lack of clarification is because the Illinois election law itself was in transition.
Crenshaw's confident if the Will County Board follows the decisions made in two other similar candidates' cases, she'll remain on the ballot as she is now. Cook County senate candidate Adam Wojcik and Chicago state house candidate Dave Lenkowski both beat Democratic challenges based on the same arguments the Democrats are making to the Will County Board. But Crenshaw's still waiting to hear the three Will County election board judges' final decision.
The three members of the Will County Board of Elections are County Clerk Nancy Schutz Voots, State's Attorney appointee Mary Petro and Circuit Clerk Pamela McGuire. Voots ran as a Republican, State's Attorney Glasgow and Pamela McQuire are both Democrats. The board's decision whether to keep Crenshaw on the ballot will be decided when Voots, Petro and McGuire's opinions are gathered into a report which will then be made public.
A spokesperson for County Clerk Voots office told Illinois Review Monday that Voots' opinion had been submitted, but the other two board members' had not yet been, and there was no deadline for those opinions mandated in election law.
"As of right now, Ms. Crenshaw is still on the ballot," the spokesman said. "We were told two weeks ago a decision would be made by the end of the week, and no decision has yet been made."
Illinois law provides a system of appeals up to the Supreme Court once a decision has been made, but as time passes, those options for appeal are limited as the Election Day approaches. September 2 is the last day for ballot referendum to be added to the November 2 ballot. At that time, the vendors draft the ballot, it is proofed by the local board of elections, and the official ballot begins production for the different election machines and absentee ballot publication.
Last month, the Chicago Young Republicans led an effort to support their district's State House candidate Dave Lenkowski. Those calls may have been effective in persuading Chicago Election Board members to lean towards Lenkowski when Democrats argued about his paperwork filing. Illinois Review received a note from the Board spokesman, notifying us of their final decision and implying the blog post asking for calls to the board be updated.
"We urged people to call the board members," CYR President Jeremy Rose said. "The state's election law is muddy on this, and the board members knew it. Our calls just drew attention to the problem, and held the board members accountable publicly. I'd highly recommend Crenshaw supporters do the same thing with the Will County Election Board members."
If you're interested in helping Crenshaw in her fight against the Chicago machine now spread to Will County, Board members numbers are Mary Petro -- 815 727 8453; Pamela McGuire -- 815 727 8592; and Sandra Schultz Voots -- 815 740 7615.