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Forged Petition Gets Edgewater Beachwalk Referendum Booted Off November’s Ballot

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Photo: Matson Collecting Signatures

The petition push to include a non-binding referendum for the construction of the Egdewater Beachwalk onto this November’s election ballot, seemed to be a success. But now the Chicago Board of Elections Commissioners have pulled that vote from the ballot because of irregularities and forged signatures found on those documents.

The petitions, which were submitted by Morry C. Matson – president of the Edgewater Beach Group, were challenged by area resident Anne Sullivan and subsequently found to be improperly collected. In the thirteen pages of petitions with 1,890 signatures, five pages were found to be written by Matson after a handwriting analyst confirmed.

Matson admitted under oath that he, in fact, did write in many of the signatures himself. According to a DNAinfo article, he said he wrote in many of his friends and co-workers names at an area Walgreens store where he works. He also improperly listed the Walgreens address as thier home.

In addition, Matson told the online publication that he has been collecting signatures for the past fifteen months. According to the law, you are required to collect them within ninety days.

In a scathing document released by the Board of Elections Commissioners about the findings, they said “that there was a pattern of fraud, false swearing and total disregard of the requirements of the election code. The Electoral Board further finds that the appropriate remedy is the invalidation of every petition sheet tainted by such conduct.”

The board continued that, because Matson was the only person circulating the petition, all signatures are thus invalid. It is unclear if Matson will face any legal action at this time.

In a statement sent to Edgeville Buzz, Matson said, “The challenge to our referendum was upheld and it will not appear on the November ballot. It lost due to my inexperience and honest and simple mistakes that could have easily been fixed had they been caught in time, but were not.” He added, “I promised my partner Jeff that this would be the last petition for the lakefront project that I personally do.  We are going to now look at other avenues to get this project built.”

With petition collecting seemingly in his past, Matson said he will continue by working with the new Hollywood-Osterman PAC to find solutions. Matson concluded, “No one is more disappointed than I am that the referendum didn’t make it, and I’m sorry I let you all down.”

 


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