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updated: 1/28/2013 5:29 PM

St. Charles assessor hopeful sues to get back on ballot

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A man who was booted off the April ballot for St. Charles Township Assessor has sued to be reinstated, arguing he would have been a township resident for more than a year when the upcoming election is held. Gary Fritz was kicked off the ballot after an electoral board ruled he was ineligible because he signed his statement of candidacy Dec. 21, 2012, and courts have ruled candidates must be a resident for a year when the statement is filed.

John Fogarty, who is Fritz' attorney, argued in a lawsuit filed in Kane County that his client's rights were violated and the three-person township electoral board erred when it decided Jan. 16 to remove Fritz from the ballot.

Fogarty argued Fritz moved to the township on April 1, 2012, and would have been a resident for more than a year when the April 9 election is held.

But the board agreed with the objection raised by resident Jerry Swanson, who argued Fritz had not met the one-year requirement when he signed candidacy papers in December.

"The decision entered by the electoral board should be vacated on the grounds that it constitutes an abuse of discretion, is contrary to law, against the manifest weight of the evidence, is arbitrary, capricious," the lawsuit by Fritz argued.

In its decision, the township electoral board cited an appellate court ruling from 1994 that held a candidate must be a resident for at least a year when signing statements of candidacy.

Derke Price, an attorney representing Swanson, also cited that court decision when he filed a court motion Monday to dismiss Fritz' complaint.

"The second Appellate District has already decided the issue," Price said. "He's not qualified to hold the office and he should not be on the ballot."

Both sides are due in court Feb. 6.

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