Former Gurnee trustee files objections against two village board candidates
Eight candidates have filed to run for the Gurnee village board, but if objections filed by a former village trustee hold up, that number could shrink.
Don Wilson, who served on the Gurnee village board from 2013 to 2017, filed objection paperwork against Jamie Seaton, a first-time candidate, and current Trustee Michael Jacobs.
A small Gurnee committee met to discuss the challenges Wednesday and will meet again Tuesday to review the evidence and possibly make a decision.
"In the last decade this has never happened," said Mayor Kristina Kovarik, one of the three members of the Gurnee Electoral Board along with Village Clerk Andy Harris and Trustee Jeanne Balmes.
To get on the ballot, candidates need to collect signatures from 139 registered voters who live in Gurnee. Wilson believes that 19 of the 152 signatures Seaton collected and 12 of the 142 signatures Jacobs collected should be discounted, according to documents obtained by the Daily Herald through a Freedom of Information Act request.
"As a former trustee, when I see only 142 turned in and you need 139, I think that means they just don't think anyone is going to pay attention," Wilson said.
Jacobs said he doesn't begrudge Wilson's challenging the paperwork because it is his right. He said it is possible that some of the people he asked to sign his petition were embarrassed to admit they weren't actually registered voters.
"I stand by my actions and by the number of signatures I gathered," Jacobs said. "I'm confident that when this all comes out in the wash I will remain on the ballot."
Wilson, who is the president of the Warren Township Republican Organization, said he has never objected to a candidate before and did it to ensure the public gets to choose among the best candidates.
"I hope for the best people to win, that's all," Wilson said.
Seaton said she felt that Wilson was targeting her and Jacobs because they weren't Republicans, which she said was frustrating because the election is supposed to be nonpartisan.
"My feelings on the national political stage don't have anything to do with what I think is right for our community," Seaton said.
Seaton said she is gathering evidence for the Tuesday meeting and thinks she will remain on the ballot.
Kovarik said it is rare to have so many candidates. Also running for the three available village board seats are incumbents Greg Garner and Cheryl G. Ross along with Joshua S. Amann, Matthew Robert Duray, Ryan Horath and Quin O'Brien.
"Usually it's pulling teeth to get people to even run, and we have eight people who have stepped up," Kovarik said.
Kovarik said she felt the number of candidates was a reflection of national trends.
"People are realizing it's regular people who serve so if you want to change something you need to serve," Kovarik said.