DuPage panel keeps one Democrat, removes another from ballot

A Democrat running for DuPage County circuit court clerk has survived a challenge to his nomination and will appear on the November ballot.

Christopher English did not run in the spring primary, but was slated for the post by DuPage Democrats. The county's electoral board ruled Thursday that he met the necessary requirements.

But the panel also concluded that Democratic leaders didn't have the legal authority to slate Kali Morgan Peickert to run for a forest preserve seat.

Opponents challenged both candidacies after English and Peickert were hand-picked by their party because no Democrats sought the seats during the March primary.

The electoral board overruled the objection to English's nominating papers and agreed to leave the Darien Democrat on the general election ballot.

"I'm glad the voters of DuPage County will have a choice in November," said English, who will face incumbent Republican Clerk of the Circuit Court Chris Kachiroubas.

Dennis Reboletti, a former state lawmaker, sought to have English removed from the ballot by claiming there were problems with the candidate's nominating papers. Specifically, Reboletti argued the paperwork doesn't properly name the office being sought.

But the three-person electoral board found no problem with the paperwork referring to the position as "the countywide district of Clerk of the Circuit Court." It's clear what seat English is seeking, officials said.

Addressing another issue raised by Reboletti, county election commission officials said English gathered more than enough valid signatures from registered voters to appear on the ballot.

Democratic leaders also set up the special committee that picked Peickert to fill a vacancy on the forest preserve district ballot.

They wanted Peickert of Lombard to challenge incumbent Republican Jeff Redick for a District 2 seat. District 2 covers all or portions of Addison, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park, Westmont and Woodridge.

But Laura Jacksack, the attorney representing the residents who challenged Peickert's candidacy, said there's nothing in state election law that allows a nominating committee to slate a candidate to run for a forest preserve seat.

DuPage has a separate forest preserve commission because it split from the county board in 2002.

"If we want to get candidates on the ballot for special districts, including forest preserve commissioner, we have to get the petitions in before the primary," Jacksack said. "You just can't do it after."

The members of the electoral board agreed.

"I don't think we have - or should have - the authority to overrule the election code," board member John Boske said.

After the hearing, Robert Peickert, the DuPage Democratic Party chairman, said he was disappointed by the decision because he believes the appointment is allowed under state law. He also criticized those who filed objections to both candidates.

"It demonstrates the Republican Party is interested in getting people booted off the ballot," said Peickert, who is Kali Morgan Peickert's grandfather.

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