A candidate for St. Clair Township supervisor who was tossed off the ballot by an electoral board expects to file an appeal for judicial review with the St. Clair County Circuit Clerk.
David Moore said he will "more than likely" file an appeal to the St. Clair Township Electoral Board's decision to remove him from the ballot at a hearing Thursday night.
"Based on the information, I think we have a valid argument," Moore said Saturday.
The board ruled Supervisor Tim Buchanan's objection to Moore's petition was valid, and Moore's name should not be placed on the April 9 ballot. Buchanan will still face opponent Dave Barnes, who's also running for township supervisor as an independent candidate.
Buchanan alleged 175 signatures on Moore's petition were invalid. After reviewing the signatures one-by-one, the three-member electoral board substantiated that 79 signatures were invalid.
Moore had 295 total signatures on his petition and removing 79 signatures dropped it down to 216 signatures, which is 10 signatures short of the required 226 signatures.
Prior to the board's ruling, Moore's attorney Untress Quinn with Hinshaw and Culbertson LLP objected to the composition of the electoral board, which was Chairman Greg Bridgman, Township Clerk Mary Carroll and township Trustee Schobert. Both Carroll and Bridgman are running for re-election as members of the Common Sense Party. Buchanan is also a member of the same party.
Quinn said Buchanan's objections to Moore's petition are based on records of the St. Clair County Clerk's Office. Quinn presented a notarized letter from the clerk's office, which stated the voter registration records have not been updated since the November General Election.
"The system used is flawed," Quinn contended. "It's hard to invalidate signatures based on an inaccurate database."
Quinn provided several examples of signatures Buchanan alleged was invalid on Moore's petition, which were in fact signatures of individuals with valid voter registration cards.
Buchanan also objected to 72 names being printed rather than signed on the petition. However, Quinn said case law substantiates a printed name is valid unless proof of fraud or wrongdoing is provided as evidence. All three electoral board members agreed the printed names should be counted as valid signatures.
Moore, who left prior to the board rendering its decision, said he assumed the hearing would not go his way based on two of its members being on the "same ticket."
The electoral board voted 2-1 to sustain Buchanan's objection and not place Moore on the April ballot. Schobert cast the dissenting vote.
A separate hearing of a different township electoral board convened immediately following the previous objection hearing.
This board comprised of Buchanan, Schobert and Dave Barnes Sr. voted to dismiss both objections filed by Carroll against Greg Hipskind, of Shiloh, and Sherman Poston, of Belleville -- both are candidates for township trustee.
Carroll alleged 134 signatures on Hipskind's petition and 185 signatures on Poston's petition were invalid. However, the board didn't get to hear specifics on her objections or Hipskind and Poston's rebuttals.
Hipskind and Poston's attorney John Hipskind's motion to dismiss both objections was addressed at the onset of the hearing. John Hipskind, who is Greg Hipskind's brother, is an associate attorney with Kurowski Shultz LLC in Swansea.
John Hipskind said the Illinois State Election Code is very specific and requires an objection to include the objector's full name, address, interest, objection and relief sought.
John Hipskind said both of Carroll's objections to Greg Hipskind's and Poston's petition failed to state her interest as well as the specific relief sought.
All three members of the electoral board agreed and dismissed Carroll's objections against Greg Hipskind and Poston. Both trustee candidates will appear on the April ballot.
In a written statement provided to the News-Democrat, Carroll said she was disappointed that she lost the objection on a technicality. She said she was trying to "bring to light the copious errors" made on Greg Hipskind and Poston's petitions.
"I realize that human mistakes can occur, but these petition sheets were packed with errors," Carroll stated. "It's simply not fair to the candidates who followed the rules in getting petition signatures."
Both Greg Hipskind and Poston said they were pleased with the board's decision.
"Although, I am disappointed that I didn't get to present my evidence," Greg Hipskind said. "I obtained affidavits from every voter that Mary Carroll alleges did not sign my petition and Mr. Poston's petition. I wanted the board and the public to see that Mary Carroll's accusations were baseless and without merit."
"Although Mary Carroll claims we won on a technicality, we followed the law, and that's what counts," Sherman Poston said. "Clearly, Mary Carroll did not exercise her due diligence in her investigation and filing of her objection."
If either the objector or petitioners aren't satisfied with the township electoral board's decision, they can file a petition for judicial review with the St. Clair County Circuit Clerk. This petition must be filed within five days of the local electoral board's decision.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 239-2562 or firstname.lastname@example.org.