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More Objections Filed in Oswego Election Ballot Battle

Dec 26, 2014 04:55PM ● By Steven Jack

Yet another twist has been added to the controversy over who will appear on Oswego’s April 7 municipal election ballot. 

After another hearing last week to determine the validity of petitions filed in November by Terry Michels and Diane Selmer, Michels has now filed his own objections to the petitions of the seven candidates that filed during the December filing period advertised by the village. 

Those candidates are Trustees Gail Johnson and Tony Giles for village president, and trustee candidates Ryan Kauffmann, Karin McCarthy-Lange, Joe West, Brian Thomas and Rasma Motykowski.

The village’s Electoral board made up of Village President Brian LeClercq, Village Trustee Judy Sollinger and Library Board member Terry Tamblyn will meet at 3 p.m. Monday, Dec. 29 to begin the objection hearing process. 

According to documents filed with Village Clerk Tina Touchette on Dec. 23, Michels is objecting to the petitions based on the incorrect filing date used and incorrect nominating petition forms. 

Michels and Selmer are both in the midst of fighting to keep their own names on the election ballot after their nominating petitions were objected to by trustee candidate Joe West. After two hearing dates, a final determination may be made by the Electoral Board on Michels and Selmer’s petitions at the next hearing date Jan. 5.

A July resolution passed unanimously by village trustees changed the village's election process to non-partisan. Non-partisan elections require an earlier filing period and a possible February primary if enough candidates file. As part of West's objections to Michels petitions, lawyers have cited Illinois statute that requires a referendum to change the form of municipal elections. 

Michels’ objections are the latest in the election controversy that erupted last month when Michels, a candidate for village president, and trustee candidate Selmer were the only two to file during the filing period for non-partisan elections that ended Nov. 24. 

Several other candidates who plan to run for village offices believed they had until Dec. 22 to file their petitions, as has been past village practice and is erroneously stated in the village’s candidate election packet and on its website. 

If the other candidates are not eventually allowed on the April 7 ballot, Michels and Selmer will be the only two names to appear for village president and three open village trustee seats.  

Michels has said he became aware of the earlier deadline two weeks after picking up his candidate petition packet from the Village Clerk’s office and while reading information contained within the packet from the Illinois State Board of Elections. Those documents state non-partisan election filing ended Nov. 24.