A request that the Circuit Court of Cook County order the certification of Negale Jackson for next month’s mayoral primary was denied Monday, perhaps bringing an end to Jackson’s campaign.
Village Clerk Vanessa Moritz informed Jackson in December that she would not certify him as a candidate for mayor to the Cook County clerk’s office, citing a failure to file the necessary paperwork. According to Moritz, Jackson did not submit a receipt from the county clerk to the village verifying that he filed a statement of financial disclosure.
A spokesperson for Cook County Clerk David Orr confirmed that Jackson did in fact file the paperwork. However, state election law dictates that the receipt must be given to the municipality.
A resident seeking election to the village council also failed to submit this receipt, according to Moritz, and was not certified to appear on the ballot. No appeals were filed in that case.
Following the Jan. 22 ruling, Village Administrator Mike Sturino said the decision lends credence to Forest Park’s ability to run a fair and professional election.
“I’m gratified because the public should have confidence in the fairness and credibility of our village government,” Sturino said. “The judge’s ruling underscores that.”
Jackson’s attorney, Leonard Murray, argued two separate points on his client’s behalf. A photocopy of the document in question appears to have the village’s stamp of receipt in the upper left corner, Murray said. This refutes the village’s claim that the document was never filed.
The other issue, Murray said, is Moritz overstepped her authority and “appears to become a participant” in the nominating process.
“I respect the judge’s ruling,” Murray said. “I disagree with him in his findings.”
Speaking several hours after the court’s ruling, Murray said his client had not yet decided whether to take his case to the appellate court. The municipal primary will be held Feb. 27, but Gail Siegel, a spokesperson for Orr’s office, said ballots will likely need to be finalized prior to the first week of February when early voting and absentee voting takes place.