Rory Hoskins, an incumbent candidate for commissioner, will stay on the voting ballot for the April 5 municipal election, a three-member electoral board ruled Tuesday at village hall.
The front-and-center issue was whether Hoskins’ failure to pen “Commissioner of the Village of Forest Park” on his petition – he wrote “Commissioner” – warranted expulsion from the spring ballot.
The issue was raised in a formal challenge to Hoskins’ candidacy filed in December by local woman Elsie Radtke. That challenge originally contained nine objections; only one was argued by Radtke’s attorney at the hearing.
The hearing was the third in as many weeks, scheduled to address a string of challenges filed by Radtke. Two of those challenges removed storeowner Jon Kubricht and bus driver Connie Custardo, former candidates for commissioner, from the ballot.
Radtke told the Forest Park Review that she was tired of “incompetent” board members.
Radtke’s attorney, Tiffany Nelson-Jaworski, argued that the wording Hoskins used to identify his desired office could have duped petition signers into believing he was running for “commissioner” of the Park District of Forest Park. Nelson-Jaworski replaced Kerri-Lyn Krafthefer, who successfully argued the Custardo and Kubricht cases.
“The ultimate issue here is voter confusion,” Nelson-Jaworski told the board.
Hoskins’ attorney, Steve Laduzinksy, said that Hoskins’ petitions did not clash with any state law, so removing his name from the ballot over an issue of “uniformity” would be “draconian.”
“There is nothing here that allows the board to throw out all the signatures,” Laduzinsky said.
The board, comprised of Mayor Anthony Calderone and attorneys Mark Chester and Michael Davies voted unanimously to strike down Radtke’s challenge, on the grounds that Hoskins’ petitions could not be easily confused with those issued by the park district.
“You got to admit, it says ‘Unit of Government: Village of Forest Park’ up at the top header [of the petition],” said Davies, addressing Nelson-Jaworski’s claim that the petition sheet could be mistaken for one from the park district.
“Yes. It does,” Nelson-Jaworski stammered. “But I don’t think it’s possible to know what the candidate is running for.”
“I understand you’re confronted with very difficult facts,” Davies said, half-joking.
Just before the board adjourned, it issued a written ruling that stated Hoskins would appear on the voting ballot.
“Aye,” the trio sounded unanimously.
“I’m pleased with the results,” Hoskins told the Review in a phone conversation. “But it just means that I have to keep on campaigning.”
Presently, there are 13 people in the race: two mayoral candidates and 11 who are running for commissioner.