West Chicago reviews objection to mayoral candidate

 
 

A candidate for West Chicago mayor will have to wait until next week to learn whether her name will appear on the April ballot.

Marilyn Kroll wants to run against incumbent Ruben Pineda, but the validity of her nominating petitions has been challenged by resident John Smith.

Smith filed an objection that claims Kroll doesn't have the required 123 valid signatures on her nominating forms.

West Chicago's Electoral Board met Tuesday to review the objection and then referred it to the DuPage County Board of Elections.

The DuPage board will conduct an independent review and deliver its recommendation back to the West Chicago board. The West Chicago board then will meet at 2 p.m. Jan. 5 to make the final decision as to whether Kroll can stay on the ballot.

Kroll is Pineda's lone challenger.

In his objection, Smith said he believes some of the signatures on Kroll's nominating petitions aren't from registered voters, or don't match an address in West Chicago's city limits. He said it also appears some of the signatures are from the same person. He said he believes only about 56 of the signatures meet the legal requirements.

In addition, Smith argued that Kroll didn't accurately state what office she was running for on her papers.

"I'm not saying she did anything deceitful or intended to do anything wrong," Smith said. "I just think she made an awful lot of errors."

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Kroll said she thought she did everything right and it is "ludicrous and ridiculous" that an objection was filed. She said it isn't her fault if some people who signed her papers didn't follow the instructions.

"How am I to know if that address is valid? How could I be charged with an error if they put the wrong address on there?" she said.

Kroll said she has mobility problems and never got out of her car to gather signatures. Instead, she would sit in her car in public parking lots, such as the one at Supermercado La Chiquita, and ask residents for their signatures.

Kroll said there was a language barrier with some of the people she asked to sign her petition, but she was very clear with them about what she was doing.

"I thought I was filling it out right. I'm a rookie," she said. "I want this job more than anything in the world. I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize it."

The West Chicago Election Board -- which consists of City Clerk Nancy Smith and the two longest-serving council members, Lori Chassee and Rebecca Stout -- agreed to refer the objection to the DuPage County Board of Elections.

The mayor usually would serve on the local board in place of one of the council members, but there was a conflict of interest because the challenge involves his seat.

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