In the last two weeks, candidates in a number of races have seen a myriad of objections to their ballot petitions. The objections came in formal challenges that question legitimacy and aim to remove hopefuls from the ballot.
If this is symbolic of some newfound interest in the quality of civic participation and public service, we welcome these challenges with open arms. However, some of the qualms raised by objectors contesting the legitimacy of candidates’ petitions have raised a few eyebrows.
In one instance, incumbent Theresa Kelly, running for re-election to the District 209 Proviso school board, challenged the ballot petitions of three rookie candidates – Eddy Anguiano, Redith Ester and Francine Harrell – based on legal premises that either did not exist, or were entirely irrelevant.
Some of her objections? She said the candidates gathered too many signatures on their ballot petitions, even though there is no limit. Board President Chris Welch expressed support for one of the candidates: again no transgression here. There are too few “valid” signatures: irrelevant because Kelly didn’t even take the time to formally object to the appropriate number of signatures that would bring the number below the legal minimum of 50.
The latter point ended in an argument between Kelly and the panel. She even insisted that the panel count the signatures for her.
The panel, rightly, denied every single objection within each challenge.
This week, just after press time, Rory Hoskins and Jon Kubricht, two candidates for commissioner on the village council, will face a panel that will decide whether they can compete in the April 5 election.
The same objector, Elsie Radtke, is challenging both. Unlike the aforementioned Kelly, whose motives appeared to be in “bad faith,” as the chief of that panel put it, Radtke’s are not as clear.
She told the Forest Park Review she doesn’t want an “incompetent” board. If that’s the catalyst, more power to her.
But it should be noted that her son, Tom Mannix, and her neighbor, Elsie Norberg, whom she is championing as a candidate, are both running for commissioner.
Also dissimilar to Kelly, Radtke has already raised legal points that were ruled valid when Connie Custardo was removed from the ballot last week.
The panel will decide whether the rest of her beef is kosher.
These hearings cost time and money. Your money.
In future elections, we encourage anyone who feels he or she has legitimate cause to contest the bid of a political candidate to do so. However, we hope to dissuade anyone who is doing so out of malice or without merit. It’s a waste of time and a waste of money.