Election anomalies from Hinsdale to Elgin to Grass Lake

Posted4/12/2015 1:00 AM

Sunday Soapbox. Some opinions require lots of words and elaboration. This is my Sunday Soapbox, not-so-briefly-stated commentary from one Daily Herald editor, and shamelessly stolen from the Saturday feature with almost the same name. This week, I offer some local election anomalies:

Elgin: Eleven candidates squared off for 4 seats on the city council. It was a vigorous campaign loosely divided between two camps: three incumbents (characterized by some opponents as spendthrifts) versus tax-cutting-bulldog challengers (characterized by some opponents obsessed with wielding a budget ax). I can vouch for the volume and size of signs planted about Elgin. Yet voters on Tuesday gave a clear vote of support to the incumbents, including one appointed to the council just a year ago.


Elgin II: The city council crept toward mirroring the diversity in the community by electing its first Latina, Rose Martinez, who was appointed to a vacant post in November. Meanwhile, council member Tish Powell, who is black, garnered the most votes as she was elected to a second term.

Hinsdale: Voters answered two advisory questions that were the brainchild of school board President Richard Skoda, who had been harshly critical of teacher pay, their alleged recalcitrance during contentious contract negotiations last year. Voters handily supported his thinly veiled propositions: Sixty percent said the board should get the state legislature to pass a law banning teachers from striking. Even more, 68 percent, favored letting parents and students have input on teacher evaluations. Yet, these same residents voted out Skoda. (More on this topic in Monday's paper.)

Grass Lake, Sleepy Hollow: Residents in these tiny communities gave a loud "No" to higher taxes by amazingly similar margins. Voters in Grass Lake Elementary District 36 -- by a 531-94 vote -- turned down the school district's request for a $5.6 million loan to build a new school. Meanwhile, Sleepy Hollow residents -- by a vote of 543 to 92 -- turned down a property tax increase of $428,571 to fix roads, buy squad cars and other equipment.

Hainesville: George Duberstein's election to the village board creates a rarity in suburban democracy -- a husband and wife serving on the same elected board. Duberstein's wife Georgann was elected to the village board in 2009.

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Close calls: Consider the cliché "every vote counts," then consider some of these results from Tuesday's election:

• It won't be known until an April 14 vote canvassing whether write-in candidate Joe Vito will win a seat on the Wheeling village board. Out latest tally showed Mary Papantos with 865 votes, while the number of write-in votes cast is 875 -- but only the official canvass will verify for whom those write-ins votes were cast.

• In the race for the fourth and final seat on Grayslake High School District 127, newcomer Hal Sloan held a 2-vote lead over incumbent Edwin Brown.

• In West Chicago's Ward 7, Noreen Ligino-Kubinski beat former alderman Nicholas Dzierzanowski by 12 votes. She tallied 214 votes, while Dzierzanowski received 202 votes.

This is why we painstakingly call Election-Night results "unofficial."


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