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County clerk says this year’s primary illustrates the importance of voting in local primaries

Just a few thousand McHenry County Republican primary voters decided the fate of five competitive races across three local townships Tuesday, choosing Republican candidates for various races in Algonquin, Nunda and Grafton townships, which, in some cases, meant deciding the overall winner.

A preliminary total of 3,426 ballots were cast in Tuesday’s primary, with 805 people voting early and 82 people by mail, according to McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio and numbers posted to the county’s election results page.

As the ballots were counted Tuesday night, it became clear that Randolph “Randy” Funk will become the next Algonquin Township supervisor. Funk garnered 57% of the vote over current Algonquin Township Trustee Elaine Ramesh, who received 30% of the vote, and former federal law enforcement officer Kirk Cole, who got 13% of the vote.

Given that no candidates from opposing parties decided to run for the Algonquin Township supervisor role, Funk’s name will appear on the April 6 ballot alone as the de facto winner of the race.

In the Algonquin Township highway commissioner race, Daniel Sandberg won 57% of the vote over Robert “Bob” Bragg (43%) and will now face off against independent candidate Derek Lee in the April election.

Read more here.

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Voters to weigh in on only two contested races among the township’s key roles, supervisor and highway commissioner

Candidates for Supervisor at Algonquin Township include (from left:) Kirk Cole, Randy Funk, and Elaine Ramesh.

In the Republican primary set for Feb. 23, voters will decide who will serve as Algonquin Township’s next supervisor, one of only two races for the township – the second being highway commissioner – that are actually contested out of the five races on the ballot this spring.

Primary voters will be asked to chose between three Republican candidates for supervisor: Elaine Ramesh, Randolph “Randy” Funk and Kirk Cole. The winner will appear on the April ballot where they are set to run uncontested.

“These days, a lot of people are discouraged with the national political situation and everything else,” Ramesh said. “I think good people have to stand up and try and say, ‘OK, I’ll run for office, I think I could do a good job so let it be me.’”

Ramesh is a current Algonquin Township trustee and secretary of the McHenry County Republican Women’s Club. She also previously served on the Barrington Hills Village Board. She said she is running for supervisor as a continuation of this service and to bring more female representation to township leadership.

Read more here.

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The Heritage Quilters are raffling a “Fit to be Tied” quilt with a bow-tie pattern made from 1930s pastel prints. (Courtesy of McHenry County Historical Society)

Time is running out for an opportunity to win this year’s McHenry County Historical Society hand-stitched quilt.  “Fit to be Tied” features a bow-tie pattern made from 1930s pastel prints.

Some of the fabric prints have recognizable figures in them. They are called object or conversation prints. These were used as early as the mid-1880s. Often the early prints were of a patriotic or nautical subject, or a nature theme.

The Heritage Quilters’ bow tie quilt has a lightness and whimsy to it, with a center block of applique. The pattern dates to the 1880s and was first published by the Ladies Arts Company in 1895.

Like so many quilt patterns, it had other names: Colonial Bow Tie, Peekhole, True Lovers’ Knot, Dumbbell. Tickets, $1 each or six for $5, are available online at mchenrycountyhistory.org/fit-be-tied.

Because of ongoing health concerns this year, the drawing will be held virtually at 3 p.m. Monday, Feb. 1, at the museum, 6422 Main St. in Union. Visit GotHistory.org for a link to follow along, or follow www.facebook.com/McHenryCountyHistoricalSociety.

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Algonquin Township voters won’t get to decide this April whether to abolish the township and its associated road district if the unanimous vote cast by the township electoral board Friday holds.

The vote sustained an objection made by Randy Funk, a candidate for township supervisor running in the April election, that questioned more than a hundred signatures he said didn’t match voter registration rolls and nearly 90 where the signer didn’t appear to live in the township or wasn’t registered to vote at the address listed.

Funk needed just 89 signatures deemed invalid in order to have the petition sunk but the three-member electoral board sustained his objection in its entirety, he said. The objection also raised issues with four pages where Funk said the petitioner signed off on the paperwork despite it being “clear as day” the signatures gathered were not from township residents.

The vote by the electoral board – made up of township Supervisor Charles Lutzow, Clerk Karen Lukasik and Trustee Daniel Shea – was no surprise to Bob Anderson, a McHenry Township trustee who has long fought for the elimination of townships and helped gather signatures for the rejected petition.

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Petition for referendum certified this week, McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio says

Algonquin Township voters will decide whether to abolish the local government unit in the April election after a petition for a referendum on the matter was certified by McHenry County Clerk Joe Tirio and the township clerk’s office this week.

An effort to gather township voter signatures to get the referendum on the ballot was initiated by McHenry County State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally and former McHenry County Board Chairman and state legislator Jack Franks.

The petition was successful in gaining approval to head to voters in the spring, Tirio said Thursday, and will appear on the ballot barring any formal objections or legal actions taken by voters to prevent that from happening.

The petition required signatures from 445 township voters to be certified for the upcoming election, and those gathering the signatures were led in part by McHenry Township Trustee Bob Anderson, a longtime critic of the township form of government who is seeking to consolidate the township he helps lead.

Anderson said almost 100 signatures more than necessary were turned into the township clerk and county clerk offices.

The ballot measure will offer the latest test case for how McHenry County residents feel about the framework for township abolition set up by a state bill sponsored by state Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills, that was signed into law last year. McSweeney decided against running for another term this past November.

Read more here.

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We searched on Barrington Hills for the results of the presidential election, and the results are depicted above.

Joe Biden won Illinois by nearly 17 percentage points, Sen. Dick Durbin sailed to reelection over Republican challenger Mark Curran and the graduated-rate income tax amendment fell by a wide margin.

The statewide results were mirrored in final tallies from Chicago and the collar counties. Biden defeated President Donald Trump in those areas by a 57.4% to 40.7% margin; Durbin had 54.5% of the vote to Curran’s 38.8%; and Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s proposed income tax amendment fell 53.4% to 46.6%.

But break down the vote behind those apparent landslides into the smallest electoral pieces — precincts — and a more nuanced picture emerges. Solidly Democratic precincts in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood saw the tax amendment fall by a wide margin. Same story in parts of Libertyville. Pockets of Niles went for Trump but saw Durbin finish ahead in the race for U.S. Senate. Parts of Lake Forest went for Biden but not for Durbin.

Search (HERE) for your address, ZIP code or town to see how your neighborhood compares. The buttons above the map allow you to switch from the race for president, U.S. Senate and the tax vote.

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Gov. J.B. Pritzker addresses the proletariat during a video news conference from his well stocked bunker in Chicago

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is responding to a report that another Illinois county will not enforce the latest COVID-19 restrictions.

The McHenry County State’s Attorney’s Office says that it will not enforce an executive order by Pritzker shutting down indoor dining amid rising coronavirus numbers, citing questions about the legitimacy of the governor’s actions.

In a news release, the office said it “cannot in good conscience” enforce the rules on indoor dining, which Pritzker implemented as part of a statewide set of mitigations he said is aimed at curbing the rising numbers of coronavirus infections.

“Surprising that a state’s attorney doesn’t want to follow the law,” Pritzker said. “These are the laws of the state of Illinois and other jurisdictions are following the law and prosecuting.”

Illinois courts have largely sided with the governor in lawsuits filed over various restrictions, with courts in McHenry, Cook and DuPage counties denying requests for temporary restraining orders when establishments files suit over the governor’s plan to prohibit indoor dining in October.

Pritzker has warned of the potential consequences for businesses that choose to stay open in defiance of state mandates, saying that licenses could be pulled in those cases.

Read more here.

Related:McHenry County state’s attorney’s office won’t enforce governor’s indoor dining ban

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The McHenry County state’s attorney’s office will not enforce the governor’s ban on indoor dining, State’s Attorney Patrick Kenneally announced Wednesday.

The office will, however, enforce related orders requiring employees and customers to wear masks, maintain social distancing and adhere to capacity limitations.

Kenneally’s decision not to enforce the indoor dining ban rested on two main considerations.

First, no provision in the executive orders or the Illinois Emergency Management Act requires or authorizes the state’s attorney’s office to enforce Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive orders, Kenneally said.

“Second, there is the legitimate question, currently being litigated, as to whether the executive orders, which require the Governor to exercise ’emergency powers,’ are authorized under Illinois law or otherwise constitutional,” Kenneally said in the release.

As restaurants throughout the county continue to defy the governor’s indoor dining ban in an effort to stay afloat, enforcement of masks and social distancing remains paramount, McHenry County Board Chairman Jack Franks said.

“We have to deal in the real world and be practical,” Franks said in an interview Tuesday, ahead of Kenneally’s announcement. “So we understand that there’s not going to be enforcement of the indoor dining, OK … but knowing that, we need to try to reduce the harm and how do you do that? By enforcing the other things — the social distancing and the masking. That’s how you handle this.”

Read more here.

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Infusion of party resources fails to bring big blue wave as Republicans relish results

(Click on image to enlarge)

Illinois Democrats and their financial backers spent big – much more than Republicans – on races for statehouse districts that include portions of McHenry County in this month’s election, but ultimately failed to flip more than one area seat.

“I think this election showed a lot of the electorate agreed with Republican values and policies, and we don’t necessarily have to spend as much if we’re strong on the policy,” McHenry County Republican Party Chairman Tyler Wilke said.

Despite Republican campaigns being at a huge fundraising disadvantage to Democrats in the three races for the statehouse seats representing the southeast corner of McHenry County, the GOP still put in more effort to hang onto those three local state offices than it has in the past, McHenry County Democratic Party Chairwoman Kristina Zahorik said.

(Click on image to enlarge)

Republican Martin McLaughlin, who handily won election to the District 52 seat over Democratic challenger Marci Suelzer and Green Party candidate Alia Sarfraz, said he thinks the varied geography of his supporters shows there is a conservative tilt among voters in the region visible across jurisdictional boundaries.

McLaughlin earned more votes than Suelzer in each of the four counties – McHenry, Lake, Cook and Kane – that make up his district.

“That’s a good sign that our message cut across the main street communities in the 52nd (House District) and the bedroom communities, and all different kinds of economic and social metrics,” McLaughlin said.

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Tom Wilbeck

The outcomes of all local McHenry County races remained the same after election results were updated for the last time Tuesday evening.

The results of only one race had changed when the McHenry County Clerk’s Office last updated results a week ago: Democrat Tanya Jindrich had taken the lead over Republican Mike Shorten for the second of two McHenry County Board seats representing District 3. That result remained the same Tuesday evening when the final tallies were totaled.

In the three-way race for a seat representing southeastern District 1 on the McHenry County Board, Democrat Theresa Meshes, retained her lead over Republican Yvonne Barnes.

Ultimately, Meshes had 32.6% of the vote, while Barnes had 32.1%. The remaining ballots strengthened newcomer Meshes’ lead over Barnes slightly, putting her 178 votes above Barnes.

Incumbent Tom Wilbeck, R-Barrington Hills, beat out both of them. His 14,039 votes gave him 35.3% of the vote.

Read more here.

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