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Article posted: 4/4/2013 5:25 PM

Naperville referendum to remain on ballot

By Justin Kmitch

The Illinois Appellate Court has ruled Naperville voters can decide April 9 whether to continue electing city council members at large.

In Wednesday's ruling the court upheld earlier rulings by the DuPage County circuit court and the city's electoral board. As a result, Naperville voters will be asked "Shall the city of Naperville elect city council at large instead of part of the councilmen at large and part of the councilmen from districts?"

An affirmative vote would overturn the results of a November 2010 referendum question in which more than 28,000 residents voted to establish a ward-based system by 2015. The entire community currently is allowed to vote on all city council candidates.

Resident Paul Sjordal filed the objection to this spring's referendum question, calling it "excessively vague and misleading." The Naperville Electoral Board first ruled against Sjordal in late January.

In her 21-page opinion, Appellate Judge Ann B. Jorgensen said the electoral board did not "err in finding that the referendum question is not confusing, and petitioner was not deprived of a fair and impartial hearing."

Attorney and Yes At Large Committee Co-Chair Rebecca Boyd-Obarski said she was happy with the ruling.

"This decision clears the way for all of the voters of the city of Naperville to voice their opinion on April 9," she said. "We hope they will choose to keep electing city council at large."

Sjordal's attorney, Doug Ibendahl, could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday about whether he will appeal the case to the Illinois Supreme Court.

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