Metro-East News

Contested township board candidate will remain on ballot

A contested candidate to the Stookey Township Board will remain on April’s ballot, the county election board ruled Tuesday, despite an objection to her petition’s validity.

Cynthia “Cindy” L. Bingham was appointed to the board after former trustee Steve Gomric was sworn in as a St. Clair County Board member, leaving his seat vacant. After a 3-to-2 vote, Bingham was voted in to Gomric’s place. To remain on the board, Bingham will have to be elected in April.

Stookey Township resident Philip Powe filed an objection in December against Bingham’s petition to be placed on the ballot. Powe claimed Bingham’s name should not be on the ballot because she used a nickname, Cindy, on her petition. The election board denied the objection during a hearing Tuesday morning at the St. Clair County courthouse.

Illinois election code allows candidates to use nicknames on petitions, according to St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly. Powe said in his objection that the petition should have included both Bingham’s legal name and nickname. Kelly heard the objections along with County Clerk Thomas Holbrook and Circuit Clerk Kahalah Clay.

Powe did not appear at the objection hearing.

“Even if Mr. Powe were here, his petition includes language from the statute which would allow Ms. Bingham to use her nickname as opposed to her whole name,” Kelly said. “Even under strict compliance, I would say that it complies.”

Stookey Township Supervisor David Bone attended the hearing along with Bingham on Tuesday. Bone recommended Bingham to the board. The supervisor’s decision raised questions about the fairness of Bingham’s appointment.

Additional objections

▪  T. Wendell Campbell will be removed from the ballot for East St. Louis District 189 school board because of a criminal sexual conduct conviction in 1994 in Hennepin County, Minn. Illinois law prohibits convicted felons from serving on school boards.

Campbell argued that a judge expunged his conviction, but after reviewing evidence submitted by Campbell, the state’s attorney said the expungement only applied to Campbell’s listing on a sex offender registration. While some civil liberties were restored to Campbell because of that expungement, the state’s attorney said, those liberties do not extend to serving on a public school board.

▪  Gwendolyn McCallum, of East St. Louis, will be removed from the ballot because she filed to run for Centreville Township supervisor as well as a position on the East St. Louis school board. The election board cited a “high risk of overlap of their functions” for their decision to remove her from the running for both positions.

▪  Victoria Clay, of East St. Louis, filed the objections to both Campbell’s and McCallum’s candidacy.

▪  Gary Henning will be removed from the ballot for a position on the Freeburg District 77 school board. Angela S. Wilkerson of Freeburg objected to Henning’s petition because it failed to state the correct date of the election, April 4. The signatures are therefore invalid, the objector argued.

▪  Donna M. Ayres will be removed from the ballot for trustee of the Commonfields of Cahokia Water District. The objector, Curtis L. McCall, argued Ayres failed to properly list the office she was seeking in her petition. Additionally, Ayres’ paperwork was not filed with the village of Cahokia, according to the objection.

▪  William Williams’ name will also be removed from the ballot for the same reasons after McCall objected to his petition.

▪  Florida Graham Clark’s name will be removed from the ballot for the East St. Louis Park District board because she failed to properly bind her filing papers, which are required to be bound.

▪  Only one candidate, Kinjii Dowd, withdrew her petition to be included on the ballot for the Harmony Emge School District in Belleville.

All candidates have the right to appeal election board decisions, the state’s attorney said.

The election board completed the hearings shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday after beginning at 9 a.m. and will consider more Wednesday. The board considered 23 objections in total. Most objections were dismissed because the objectors were protesting minor clerical errors.

Kelsey Landis: 618-239-2110, @kelseylandis