Maine District 207 candidates face ballot challenges

Updated 1/9/2017 4:39 PM
  • Jin Lee

    Jin Lee

  • Aurora Austriaco

    Aurora Austriaco

Two candidates for the Maine Township High School District 207 school board will make their cases Tuesday to remain on the ballot for the April 4 election.

First-term board member Jin Lee and Aurora Austriaco face objections claiming signatures on their nominating petitions are invalid. A hearing on the challenges will be held Tuesday at the Cook County Clerk's Office.

They are among the five candidates vying for four seats on the school board. The race also includes Linda Coyle, incumbent school board President Carla Owen and Dan Gott, a Republican who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Democratic state Rep. Marty Moylan in 2016.

Park Ridge resident Gary Gale, an arbitrator for the Illinois Workers' Compensation Commission and former director of the agency, filed the objections against Lee and Austriaco.

Gale argues Lee's petitions include signatures from unregistered voters and people who don't live in the school district, as well as duplicate signatures. Disqualifying those signatures would push Lee's total below the 50 needed to get on the ballot, according to Gale's objection.

Lee said he has checked the signatures, but declined to say how many he believes are valid.

"I am confident," he said. "I went through every individual (signature) to see if they're good or bad and so on."

Gale's challenge argues Austriaco submitted signatures of unregistered voters and people who don't live in the school district. Austriaco also didn't submit enough valid signatures to stay on the ballot, he contends.

Gale and Austriaco could not be reached for comment Monday.

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