Barrington Hills candidate fights to stay on ballot

A Barrington Hills trustee candidate is contesting an effort to have her removed from the spring ballot, which includes an accusation she received too many signatures on her nominating petition.

Barrington Hills' three-member electoral board on Monday began hearing the objection lodged by Arnold Cernik over the nominating paperwork submitted by trustee hopeful Linda H. Cools. Cernik is on Barrington Hills' advisory zoning board of appeals.

Village President Martin McLaughlin, Clerk Nikki Panos and Trustee Colleen Konicek Hannigan are serving as the electoral board that will decide whether Cools should be bumped from the April 2 ballot.

After allowing Cools to speak under oath at the hearing, the electoral board continued the matter to Jan. 8 to give Cernik time to answer her written response in the case. Cernik has a Friday deadline to file his documents.

Cernik alleges the number signatures that Cools obtained for her nominating petition topped the allowable maximum 8 percent of 1,066 ballots cast in Barrington Hills in the last local election. Cernik contends the number of signatures had to be at least 86, but no more than 104, according to his complaint.

Electoral boards often hear claims that a candidate did not have enough valid signatures on nominating papers to get on the ballot. Cools said Cernik is "grasping at straws" by alleging she received too many.

"With due respect, the common rule is to quit counting signatures once the minimum is reached," Cools said in her written response to the electoral board.

Cools also contends the electoral board is not an independent or impartial panel, "but rather one with a vested interest in the outcome." McLaughlin asked if she had evidence to support her statement.

"I'm not on trial here," Cools responded. "I didn't call for this hearing. I'm not on trial."

She also is accused of improperly filing her statement of economic interest with the McHenry County clerk instead of in Cook County, where Barrington Hills village government is headquartered. Barrington Hills cuts across Cook, McHenry, Kane and Lake counties.

Cools, who says the objection should be dismissed because she did not receive proper notice of the complaint, is among five candidates seeking three, 4-year trustee seats in Barrington Hills. Others running are incumbents Bryan Croll and Brian Cecola, along with Debra Buettner and Louis Iacovelli.

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