Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2013, 9:01 pm
Cordova ballot challenges delayed
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By Lyle Ernst, firstname.lastname@example.org
CORDOVA -- Challenges to the town's electoral board made Tuesday's meeting short-lived.
The Cordova Electoral Board -- consisting of Mayor Robert VanHooreweghe, village clerk Sharon Peterson and village trustee Larry Dhooge -- was expected on Tuesday night to hear James Boone, the Citizens Party candidate for mayor, explain why he believed he is eligible to run for the office.
On Jan. 4, Mayor VanHooreweghe filed a formal protest of Mr. Boone's eligibility, stating Mr. Boone was in arrears of a municipal utility bill when he signed his candidacy statement. The Illinois Municipal Handbook states a candidate "must not be in arrears in the payment of any tax or other indebtedness due the municipality at the time he signs the nomination papers."
On Tuesday night, Mr. Boone challenged the mayor's participation on the electoral board tasked with hearing the challenge to his candidacy. He cited the 2013 candidates' guide from the Illinois State Board of Elections that states,"In the event that a member of the electoral board is a candidate for the office in question, he/she shall not be eligible to serve on that board."
The guide also said the affected electoral board members must be replaced by the councilman or trustee who has served the second greatest number of years in the post.
"Someone of higher authority needs to tell me this," Mayor VanHooreweghe said.
That's when Ida Kerr, the Citizens Party caucus clerk, presented documentation she also had obtained from the state citing the same ruling about the composition of an electoral board.
After discussion, Mayor VanHooreweghe, Ms. Peterson and Mr. Dhooge decided to adjourn Tuesday's meeting and have another with Cordova Trustee Patsy Fidlar replacing the mayor. The date and time for the new meeting was not determined, pending notification of Ms. Fidlar.
The electoral board on Tuesday also was scheduled to review a second protest by Mayor VanHooreweghe, filed on Jan. 4, claiming some municipal candidates filed nomination papers on Dec. 10 instead of Dec. 17-26 as required by state law. The protest, however, incorrectly listed the Peoples Party as filing on Dec. 10, when actually the Citizens Party filed on that day.
Action on that protest also awaits the rescheduled electoral board meeting.
In a letter to the electoral board, Ms. Kerr stated she filed the Citizens Party nomination papers on Dec. 10, but was not informed by the village clerk the filing was too early. She also said neither party was informed of the date requirement.
Candidates filed by the Citizens Party included James Boone for mayor, Jackie Tanner for clerk and Harvey Sothman, John Stickler and Barry Oleson for trustees. Ms. Tanner has since withdrawn hercandidacy.