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Board Allows All Candidates on Oswego Ballot

Jan 06, 2015 12:58AM ● By Steven Jack

Village President candidate and current Village Trustee Gail Johnson testifies during Monday night's Electoral Board hearings at Village Hall.

All Oswego candidates who filed in November and December to run for village office in 2015 will appear on the April 7 ballot — for now.

Citing confusion among candidates, misinformation supplied by the village and a desire to make the election inclusive to all, the three-member Electoral Board late Monday night denied all objections filed by Village President candidate Terry Michels and trustee candidate Joe West. 

After about four and a half hours of hearings, Electoral Board member Terry Tamblyn was the
deciding vote in two of three votes between differing fellow board members Village Trustee Judy Sollinger and Village President Brian LeClercq.

While the trio agreed all trustee candidates who filed during the December election period should appear on the ballot, they were split on whether the same should apply for Village President candidates Tony Giles and Gail Johnson, both of whom are current village trustees.

LeClercq argued that as trustees, Giles and Johnson were privileged to more information about changes made to the village's election procedure after a unanimous July 1 Village Board resolution to switch to the non-partisan format, which requires a November filing period. 

Giles and Johnson should have been aware of the change given their position on the Village Board, LeClercq said. However, both Giles and Johnson testified Monday night they relied upon information given by the Village Clerk's office that stated the filing period would take place in December.

LeClercq and Sollinger were again split on whether Michels and trustee candidate Diane Selmer should appear on the ballot. LeClercq said they should be allowed on the ballot, as they followed the village resolution and non-partisan election law that requires a November filing period. 

Sollinger, however, argued she believes the July resolution is not valid because state law requires a referendum to change the form of an election in a municipality. Such a referendum has never occurred in Oswego.

As he did previously, Tamblyn voted to ensure all candidates who filed during both periods would remain.

"The intent of (election) law is to be inclusive, and the residents deserve all candidates that want to run," Tamblyn said.

Whether this is the end of Oswego's election battle remains to be seen. Objectors Michels and West are allowed to file appeals and sources have said the matter may be headed to court.