Letter: Petition challenges a step back for local elections

Our community should be saddened by recent candidate petition challenges that have been taking place at city hall and potentially in DuPage County Circuit Court.

Until recently, Naperville's local politics have largely been a joy to be a part of. Not only were opposing candidates typically friendly toward one another, but in many cases they became great friends while going through the election process.

Our historically friendly political environment is changing rapidly. This is bad news for those who desire to see quality community leaders continue to step up to serve.

A local Democratic Party leader has hired a prominent election law firm to file technical challenges to the filings of mayoral candidate Tiffany Stephens and city council candidate Derek McDaniel. The challenges do not question whether either candidate obtained the needed signatures or if they are now Naperville residents. They raise technical defects. The wrong fastener? Page numbering? The date of a house closing?

The result is that these candidates have to engage attorneys to litigate their way onto the ballot. This is an expensive undertaking and a trick straight out of the Chicago playbook.

It's a sorry way to treat two longtime Naperville community leaders. It's also a loss of well credentialed options for our voters to consider in April should either candidate be unable to afford a court challenge.

Residents should reject this bullying style of politics and remind those involved in these challenges that residents, not partisan leaders, should be the ones vetting candidates through the election - not through court hearings.

Kevin Coyne


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