DuPage recorder hopeful facing legal fight to stay on the ballot

Updated 1/6/2020 6:20 PM

A DuPage judge is being asked to overturn an electoral board's decision and remove a candidate for county recorder from the March primary election ballot.

Republican recorder candidate Babette Holder Youngberg survived a challenge of her nominating petitions last month when DuPage's electoral board ruled her name should appear on the March 17 primary ballot.


But Mark Tarnowski, the Wheaton resident who challenged Holder Youngberg's paperwork, is appealing the decision. He has filed a petition for judicial review in DuPage circuit court.

Over the weekend, Holder Youngberg released a statement blaming her Republican primary opponent -- Ron Almiron of Wheaton -- for attempting to get her removed from the ballot. Almiron, who is an attorney, is representing Tarnowski in the case.

Holder Youngberg and Almiron are slated to face off in a contest to decide the GOP nominee for the recorder seat held by Republican Fred Bucholz, who is retiring. Democrat Kathleen Carrier of Carol Stream is running unopposed for her party's nomination.

"My opponent is using last-minute desperation tactics to cheat the voters from choosing the candidate they want to send forth to the general election this November by attacking the use of my maiden name as well as my marital name on the ballot," said Holder Youngberg, who lives in Wheaton.

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Almiron didn't respond to a request for comment.

During the electoral board's hearings, Tarnowski argued that Holder Youngberg's nominating papers were invalid because she didn't start including her maiden name "Holder" until recently. Last month, electoral board members said that doesn't matter.

"The candidate has fulfilled one of the two circumstances for the legal use of a double surname: through marriage," said county Clerk Jean Kaczmarek, who serves as chairwoman of the three-person panel.

The electoral board said in its written decision that Holder Youngberg "has consistency used her maiden name and married name for many years."

But in the petition for judicial review, Almiron wrote that Holder Youngberg isn't registered to vote in DuPage as "Babette Holder Youngberg." He said she changed the name on her voter registration from "Babette L. Holder" to "Babette Youngberg" in May 2019.


Almiron said Holder Youngberg only recently decided to use both her maiden name and married name "for political purposes" because she was running for recorder. He said using the name on her nominating papers "confused the voters who signed her petitions."

However, Holder Youngberg said all of her paperwork was "prepared and reviewed by legal counsel prior to circulation as well as prior to filing my candidate packet."

"Women today have the choice to use two surnames, hyphenated or not," she said. "I also believe it gives the voters full transparency as to how I have been addressed by many throughout the county."

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