Naperville House candidate still on the ballot despite residency issue
Naperville Democrat Valerie Montgomery remains a candidate for state representative, apparently still defiant in the face of a court ruling that she doesn't live in the 41st House District she's seeking to represent.
Montgomery has maintained her silence about the issue with the exception of a Facebook post last month suggesting that race played a factor in the confusion over her residency.
As of Friday, she had not submitted plans to withdraw to the state board of elections, spokesman Matt Dietrich said in an email. Montgomery's name will remain on the ballot until she decides otherwise, according to the state board of elections.
"Unless she voluntarily withdraws and submits her withdrawal to us, she stays on the ballot," Dietrich said in an email last month. "If she wins, it will be up to the legislature to decide whether to seat her as a representative of the 41st District."
Montgomery's opponent, incumbent Grant Wehrli, a Naperville Republican, filed the lawsuit pointing out the residency error.
Judge Bonnie Wheaton in September ordered the DuPage County Election Commission to correct a "coding error" that incorrectly placed Montgomery's Naperville home in the 41st District.
According to Wheaton's ruling, Montgomery actually lives in the 49th House District, which includes parts of Naperville, Aurora, Batavia, Geneva, St. Charles and Wayne.
The 41st District covers all or parts of Naperville and Warrenville.
Montgomery ran unopposed in the April Democratic primary. She also was featured on a Time cover as part of a collage of Women's March participants the magazine called "The Avengers."
DuPage Democratic Chairman Robert Pieckert said Friday he last spoke to Montgomery a week ago. She has not responded to repeated requests for comment, and her voicemail mailbox was full Friday.
"The last I talked to her, she said she was going to stay on the ballot and run," Pieckert said.
With about a month until the Nov. 6 election, Pieckert said he wants "every Democrat running to win," but he's focused on getting candidates elected in county races and can't speculate on the outcome of the 41st House contest.
"I haven't really followed that one," he said. "We're focusing on county races like I said and the state races will kind of take care of themselves."
Election lawyers have differing opinions as to what would happen if Montgomery wins. DuPage Election Commission attorney Pat Bond has said Montgomery would be unable to vote for herself and would be unable to serve even if she wins because her residency makes her ineligible to hold the office. State election law requires candidates to live in their district for two years before running for elected office, he said.