Hotly contested races for Roselle village president and trustee could become less crowded if two candidates succeed in getting some of their opponents knocked off the April ballot.
Trustee Kory Atkinson on Wednesday filed objections to the nominating paperwork of four candidates seeking election, including two village president hopefuls. Atkinson filed the objections on behalf of himself, Trustee Ronald Baker and resident Walter Brinas.
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Baker, who is serving his first term as trustee, is trying to unseat longtime Village President Gayle Smolinski. Newcomers James Banks and Jim Schelling also are in the race, but the objections filed Wednesday claim neither of those hopefuls collected enough signatures to get on the April 9 ballot.
Meanwhile, two of the six candidates seeking three trustee seats are having their spots on the ballot challenged because they filed their statements of economic interests with the Cook County clerk. Atkinson claims Carrie Dahlstrom and Robert Roddy should have filed that paperwork with the DuPage County clerk.
"The statute is very clear that you're supposed to file with the county clerk where the unit of government has its offices," said Atkinson, who is an attorney. "Roselle has a very small portion of its territory in Cook County."
If Roselle's electoral board agrees, Dahlstrom and Roddy could be removed from the ballot. That would leave incumbents Atkinson, Andy Maglio and Terrence Wittman defending their trustee spots against Patrick Devitt.
The situation is made even more complicated because of questions about who will sit on the village's electoral board.
Typically, a municipality's electoral board is composed of the village president, the village clerk and the longest-serving trustee.
But with Smolinski and Wittman seeking re-election, they are expected to be excluded from decisions that affect their races.
And Village Clerk Patty Burns has an issue that could prevent her from weighing in on the challenges involving Banks and Schelling: She might be called as a witness.
That's because Burns might have given Banks and Schelling incorrect information about how many voters they needed to sign their nominating petitions, according to Atkinson. The petitions for Banks and Schelling have 105 and 110 signatures, respectively.
Atkinson said both candidates needed to collect signatures from at least 123 qualified voters. That number represents 5 percent of the Roselle residents who voted during the April 2011 election.
But Burns challenged Atkinson on that point, saying she based the signature requirement on the number of voters in the April 2009 election, which was last time the village president's post was on the ballot. According to her calculations, Banks and Schelling each needed only 80 signatures on their petitions.
Smolinski and Baker each submitted about 180 signatures on their nominating paperwork, according to Atkinson.
Smolinski said on Wednesday that an attorney for the DuPage Election Commission is trying to determine whether one or multiple versions of the local electoral board will be formed to hear the objections. She said all the hearings will be conducted late next week or early the following week.
"The people who have filed their petitions want to start their campaigns," she said, "so I think it should be heard as soon as possible."
In the meantime, Baker and Atkinson insist the challenges weren't filed to make their own election bids easier.
"Our duty as officers of the village is to do what's right," Baker said. "Obviously, there are some problems with the paperwork that was handed in. I'm not going to turn a blind eye to it."