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updated: 1/9/2013 3:20 PM

Amid new objections, more Roselle candidates may be kicked off ballot

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Editor's note: This article included an error regarding objections filed against the nominating petition of Roselle Village President Gayle Smolinski. Only fellow candidate James "Jim" Banks filed an objection against her.

Six candidates in the races for Roselle village president and trustee must wait nearly a week to learn if they can remain on the spring ballot.

Proceedings on Tuesday to hear a total of 12 objections against four candidates were continued to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 15, because officials said there was not enough time to gather all paperwork.

Two new objections will also be heard Jan. 15 at Roselle Village Hall, because first-time mayoral candidate James "Jim" Banks also filed objections to nominating petitions of incumbent Village President Gayle Smolinski and Trustee Ron Baker.

Smolinski is trying to stave off challenges from Baker, a first-term trustee, and newcomers Banks and Jim Schelling.

An electoral board was formed Tuesday to hear objections filed by Trustee Kory Atkinson on behalf of himself, Baker and resident Walter Brinas. The complaints claim neither Banks or Schelling collected enough signatures to get on the April 9 ballot.

Another electoral board will decide whether two of the six candidates seeking three trustee seats filed their statements of economic interests in the correct location. Atkinson, Baker and Brinas each have complaints against candidates Carrie Dahlstrom and Robert Roddy, who filed their statements with the Cook County clerk.

But Atkinson claims they should have filed that paperwork with the DuPage County clerk, since village offices are in DuPage and only a small part of Roselle is in Cook. 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.

Banks' newest objections against Baker and Smolinski also will be heard on Jan. 15. Banks said last week he filed the objections in response to the three complaints against him.

In his objection papers, Banks said both candidates collected too many signatures for their nominating petitions and said there is an "odor of conspiracy in the air."

The discrepancy regarding amount of signatures required stems from the question of whether Village Clerk Patty Burns gave 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. Smolinski and Baker each submitted about 180 signatures on their nominating paperwork, according to Atkinson.

Atkinson said Banks and Schelling 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. In addition, under that calculation, Smolinski and Baker's signature numbers would be valid.

But Burns challenged Atkinson's formula, 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. But under these rules, Banks argues in his complaint, Smolinski and Baker should have no more than 126 signatures

Because of this possible error by Burns, two electoral boards were composed Tuesday.

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 were excluded from decisions that affect their races. Instead, Trustee Barbara Rendall-Hochstadt served in Smolinski's place for matters pertaining to the mayoral race, and a member of the public assigned by DuPage County Judge John T. Elsner, Joe Bongiorno, served in Wittman's place.

For matters pertaining to the trustee race, Rendall-Hochstadt also served for Wittman and Smolinski was able to serve.

But Elsner also had to assign another public member, Kevin Millon, to serve for Patty Burns on both electoral boards. That's because she may be called as a witness on Jan. 15 in the hearings regarding Banks and Schelling.

Both Smolinski and Rendall-Hochstadt read statements before Tuesday's proceedings pledging to be fair, and saying they believed cases like this should be heard at the county level to avoid "perceptions of favoritism, friendship or political alliance."

"I do not feel elected officials in a small community should be asked to rule on election paperwork of their neighbors," Rendall-Hochstadt said.

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