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updated: 1/8/2013 12:48 PM

Buffalo Grove electoral board says no 'wiggle room' in rejecting candidate

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If Jeffrey Battinus decides to run as a write-in candidate for Buffalo Grove trustee, he will probably be a lot more careful with his paperwork.

It was Battinus' carelessness in filing his economic interest statement that was his downfall Monday, when an electoral board ruled that Battinus could not be on the ballot in April.

As a result, the only candidates left are the incumbents: Andrew Stein, Beverly Sussman and Lester Ottenheimer III.

One of Battinus' would-be opponents, Stein, had challenged Battinus on the basis that Battinus had not provided the village clerk with proof in the form of a receipt that he had filed his economic interest statement with the Cook County clerk. He was required to do so by the filing deadline, 5 p.m. on Dec. 26.

Instead, Battinus had provided the Buffalo Grove village clerk with the statement that should have gone to the county. Only on Jan. 2 did he file the statement with the county clerk.

Battinus told an electoral board, consisting of village President Jeffrey Braiman, Trustee Jeffrey Berman and Village Clerk Janet Sirabian, that he has no economic interest to disclose, noting that his form is blank.

Battinus told the board when he filed his papers at 8 a.m. on Dec. 17, the village clerk confirmed receiving "all applicable documents."

"I then asked the clerk, 'Is everything there?' And she confirmed in the affirmative," he said. "This was my error for which I am accountable. I am merely showing that even an individual who has presided over receiving these same documents throughout 15 election cycles is also capable of making clerical errors on these same documents."

He then asked the board to accept the statement of economic interest he provided the Cook County clerk and "let the voters choose who represents them, not a clerical error."

But the electoral board said the law gives it no choice.

"The statute in the case law is very explicit," Braiman said. "There is no wiggle room whatsoever. It's very Draconian. Either you complied or you don't comply. If you don't comply, it's not a viable petition."

Braiman was sympathetic.

"He did the hard part. He went door to door and got hundreds of signatures. The easy part is filing the disclosure. And that's the part he didn't do."

Stein said the lesson of Monday's decision was, "If you're going to be a candidate, you need to make sure that you understand the rules and follow them."

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