Mundelein board candidates survive petition challenges, will stay on ballot

Two Mundelein village board candidates who faced disqualification from the April 4 election because of complaints about their nominating petitions will remain on the ballot.

One, Kerston Russell, is an incumbent who last week said he planned to drop out of the race but subsequently changed his mind. Candidate Ramesh C. Sharma survived the paperwork challenge, too.

Three-member electoral boards, both led by Mayor Steve Lentz, upheld their candidacies Tuesday.

Russell and Sharma are among five candidates seeking three seats on the village board. The others are incumbents Kara Lambert and Erich Schwenk and former trustee Robin Meier.

The objections against Russell's and Sharma's petitions were filed last week by former trustee Terri Voss.

Voss had said some signatures on the petitions should be invalidated because several pages were completed incorrectly. In addition, some people signed the petitions despite not living in Mundelein, Voss claimed.

In both cases, the electoral boards ruled some signatures were invalid and should be removed from consideration. But the redactions didn't bring the total number of signatures below the legally required amount.

Despite saying he would drop out of the race, Russell said he was excited to run for another term.

He said he decided not to withdraw after speaking with friends who encouraged him to fight the challenge.

"I felt like they had given me the emotional support to go through with the hearing," said Russell, who has served on the board since 2015. "I also felt like I had nothing to lose."

Sharma, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Mundelein Park & Recreation District board in 2019, had called the objections to his paperwork "baseless." He couldn't be reached Wednesday.

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