Election preparation continues despite candidate challenges
Election officials are keeping watch for possible court orders in Island Lake and Roselle, where objections to candidates on the ballot are continuing, but in the meantime, they say election preparations are proceeding as usual.
The Lake County clerk's office and the DuPage County Election Commission say challenges to Island Lake candidate Charles Amrich and Roselle candidates James Banks, Jim Shelling, Carrie Dahlstrom and Robert Roddy did not prevent them from getting vote-by-mail ballots ready to send this week.
"As far as we're concerned, we're going forward with the ballot as it is, unless we receive notice from the court," said Joseph Sobecki, assistant executive director of the DuPage Election Commission.
In Lake County, however, it was a close call, County Clerk Willard Helander said.
A judge ruled Monday that Island Lake mayoral candidate Amrich should be included on the ballot, but the ruling came only four days before the Friday deadline to get absentee ballots in the mail and two days before the first votes could be cast during a grace period for voter registration.
"We had to start printing ballots in order to meet our deadline for voting by mail," Helander said.
Before printing ballots, the clerk's office had to run logic and accuracy tests to ensure counting machines would accurately tally each vote.
"It was a high stress level over here in this office," Helander said.
Although Amrich's name is on the ballot, an attorney representing two local activists who are challenging Amrich's candidacy says his clients intend to appeal.
An appeal is still in the works in Roselle, where Trustee Kory Atkinson is challenging mayoral candidates Banks and Shelling as well as trustee candidates Dahlstrom and Roddy. Legal briefs from the candidates and Atkinson are not due until March 23, after which an appeals court can issue a ruling to uphold or remove the candidates in question.
If a court rules any candidate's name should be removed from the ballot once voting documents have been printed, election officials say they will notify voters with signs at polling places and posts on their websites. New ballots can be mailed to those who voted absentee informing them of any candidate's disqualification.
It's easier to notify the public that votes for a candidate will not be counted than to redo an election to add a name that originally did not appear on ballots, Sobecki said.
"We haven't had a change this late in the past, with voting already started and early voting on the 25th," Sobecki said. "There isn't really much time, but we do whatever the court orders."
Another issue affecting two DuPage County precincts in Aurora is unlikely to cause any last-minute ballot changes, Sobecki said.
Aurora Ward 9 alderman candidate Matt Harrington finished the Feb. 26 primary with 67 votes -- 13 fewer than the 81 received by second-place finisher Marge Linnane -- but too few to receive a recount, Sobecki said. Harrington's vote total would have to be within 5 percent of Linnane's to request a recount, but Sobecki said it's about a 17 percent spread.