'We followed the law': Mount Prospect candidates feel vindicated by ruling

  • Terri Gens

    Terri Gens

  • Peggy Pissarreck

    Peggy Pissarreck

 
Updated 1/22/2021 9:54 PM

Mount Prospect village board candidates Terri Gens and Peggy Pissarreck said they feel vindicated after the town's electoral board finalized a ruling Tuesday allowing them to remain on the April 6 ballot.

"This ruling confirms we followed the law," Gens said.

 

The candidates' nominating petitions were challenged by former Trustee Steven Polit and village resident Tom Manion, who alleged Gens and Pissarreck violated village code by having two candidates on one signature petition.

But the electoral board ruled in a 2-1 vote that a 2005 appellate court decision in the case of McNamara v. Oak Lawn Municipal Officers Electoral Board sided with Gens and Pissarreck.

"Mount Prospect residents were smart enough to know they were signing for two candidates," Gens said Tuesday. "Peggy and myself each got more than 500 signatures. Being smart and efficient is just the type of thinking that we will add to the board as Mount Prospect families and businesses struggle during an economic downturn and pandemic."

Polit said Friday he will not appeal the decision in court because it would be too expensive, citing estimates of a minimum cost of $20,000. But he noted that a portion of the electoral board's ruling stated that the petitions were "technically running afoul of the Election Code."

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Pissarreck said she appreciates Polit's effort, adding that "his objection will likely increase civic engagement with this election."

"As (electoral board member and Mayor Arlene) Juracek noted, having two names at the top of our petition sheets was in substantial compliance with the election code," she added.

Another electoral board member, Trustee Paul Hoefert, voted to allow Gens and Pissarreck on the April 6 ballot but criticized the way they went about collecting petition signatures.

"We have a traditional way of running for office," he said. "They literally went around that."

Mount Prospect trustees will be discussing possible changes to its election code in the wake of the electoral board's decision to allow the joint trustee candidacy of Gens and Pissarreck.

The two filed nominating petitions with both their names, which, the electoral board said, did not disqualify them. Later Tuesday, during a village board meeting, Trustee William Grossi suggested the village clarify its election code to prevent a similar conflict.

"I'm looking to solidify what we're doing on a going-forward basis so that we don't run into this issue again," he said.

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