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Article updated: 11/20/2012 10:05 PM

Aurora, Wheaton have to fill vacant seats

Stephanie Kifowit

Stephanie Kifowit

 
Jeanne Ives

Jeanne Ives

 
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After losing city council members to the state legislature, Aurora and Wheaton are taking different steps toward electing new people to fill those vacancies.

Candidates wanting to vie for Stephanie Kifowit's former Ward 3 aldermanic seat in Aurora have until the end of the day Monday to file their nominating petitions. Kifowit, who won election to the 84th state House District earlier this month, resigned Tuesday from her municipal post.

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Meanwhile, Wheaton residents are getting more time to decide if they want to seek election to serve two of the years remaining on former Councilwoman Jeanne Ives' term. Ives resigned this week from her at-large seat on the city council because she'll soon be a state representative in the 42nd state House District.

The resignations of Ives and Kifowit made it possible for both positions to be up for election on April 9. Although each city is handling candidate filing differently, both say they are following relevant statutes.

A February primary is possible in Wheaton and Aurora if more than four candidates enter the race.

Aurora's Monday deadline to file for the Ward 3 seat coincides with the deadline by which others up for election in April, including Aldermen in Wards 2, 4, 7, 9 and 10 along with the Mayor and one Alderman-at-Large, must file with the Aurora Election Commission.

Linda Fechner, the commission's executive director, said using the same filing period for Kifowit's recently vacated seat as for other open seats puts the Ward 3 position on track to be filled in April and follows municipal code. Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner will appoint someone to fill the vacancy until after the spring election.

Candidates wanting Kifowit's former seat will need between 21 and 71 signatures to be added to the ballot. The winner will serve a 2-year term between May 2013 and May 2015.

Even though the weeklong filing period for four other city council seats also is under way in Wheaton, officials determined the filing period for the at-large vacancy should happen between Dec. 17 and Dec. 24.

"This is based on the election code," said City Clerk Sharon Barrett-Hagen, who sought legal advice from multiple attorneys before setting the filing date.

Barrett-Hagen said the later filing period will make the process easier for people interested in the vacancy.

"She (Ives) just resigned last night," Barrett-Hagen said Tuesday.

"We're in the middle of a November filing period already. You can't expect somebody to get out there and collect the signatures that they need in a few days, especially with the holiday."

To qualify to run for the at-large seat, a candidate must collect signatures from at least 81 registered voters living in Wheaton.

Whoever is elected to finish Wheaton's at-large vacancy will serve a term from May until May 2015. Mayor Mike Gresk and the council still will have to appoint someone to fill the seat from December to April.

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