Island Lake mayoral candidate Amrich back on the ballot
By Beth Kramer email@example.com March 12, 2013 5:48PM
Charles R. Amrich
Updated: April 14, 2013 6:35AM
A judicial order signed Tuesday, March 12, gave the village of Island Lake its choice between two mayoral candidates.
Lake County Circuit Judge Christopher Starck reversed Island Lake’s electoral board decision to keep mayoral candidate Charles Amrich off the April 9 ballot.
The electoral board had twice voted to remove Amrich from the ballot, once due to an unpaid garbage bill when he signed his statement of candidacy Dec. 18. Amrich put himself back on the ballot and was again voted off after it was alleged his paperwork had not been filed in time.
“Charles Amrich is declared eligible for the ballot and is hereby restored to the ballot. McHenry and Lake County clerks are ordered to provide a space for write-in on its ballot for the office of mayor for the village of Island Lake,” Starck’s order said.
Island Lake has a population of about 8,000 and occupies parts of Lake and McHenry counties. Mayor Debbie Herrmann would have run unopposed if Amrich had not been allowed on the ballot, according to Lake County Clerk Willard Helander.
“The judge felt the people of Island Lake are the ones that really need to be making this choice. If I did not appear on the ballot, there would be no mayoral contest. Let the people decide who they want,” Amrich said.
Grace-period voting registration starts Wednesday, March 13, so unregistered voters can register and then vote, Helander said. Vote-by-mail starts March 15.
Ballots would not have been ready if election officials waited for Tuesday’s ruling, Helander said.
“We needed to have all the ballots finalized and test their accuracy. We had to proceed,” Helander said.
The clerk’s office printed ballots with Amrich’s name. Had the judge ruled differently, the clerk’s office would not have reported any votes for Amrich, she said.
“It’s been dramatic. We are confident that if someone comes in (Wednesday) to vote, we’ll have a ballot ready,” Helander said.
Helander said that she has never seen such an “aggressive approach” to trying to keep someone from the ballot in her 18 years as county clerk.
The electoral board that voted to keep Amrich off the ballot is made of three village trustees.
Amrich called the efforts to keep him off the ballot “politics at its worst.”
Amrich, 63, served as mayor from 1985 to 2005. He said he decided to run again after some unhappy residents approached him.
Some of the issues he said he focused on is curbing the village’s spending and giving some attention to some of the village roads.
Herrmann has been mayor since 2009. If re-elected, she said she is looking at redrawing the village’s downtown. The village is collecting necessary data to address possibly improving village hall or building a new one.
“Our campaign strategy would have been the same no matter if Mr. Amrich was or was not on the ballot. I did not utilize my time researching it,” Herrmann said.