Metro-East News

Candidate for metro-east seat kicked off ballot by state board of elections

The State Board of Elections on Thursday removed Democrat Charles Koen, of Cairo, after Lynda Lee Sparks-Franklin, of Percy, objected and said nearly 400 of Koen’s petition signatures were invalid.
The State Board of Elections on Thursday removed Democrat Charles Koen, of Cairo, after Lynda Lee Sparks-Franklin, of Percy, objected and said nearly 400 of Koen’s petition signatures were invalid.

The race for the Democratic nomination in 12th Congressional District has one fewer candidate.

The State Board of Elections on Thursday removed Democrat Charles Koen, of Cairo, after Lynda Lee Sparks-Franklin, of Percy, objected and said nearly 400 of Koen’s petition signatures were invalid.

An elections board examiner ruled 349 signatures of the 955 signatures were invalid; Koen was left with 604, below the 816 signatures needed to be on the ballot.

Sparks-Franklin also objected to David Bequette, of Columbia, being on the ballot in the 12th. However, the objection was denied when examiners ruled 823 signatures of the 1,192 signatures Bequette submitted were valid.

Bequette staying on the ballot means he will face off against St. Clair County State’s Attorney Brendan Kelly for the Democratic nomination in the 12th.

Thursday is the deadline for the State Board of Elections to certify names that will appear on the March 20 primary election ballot.

In the 56th State Senate District, Republican Hal Patton’s name stays on the ballot, as the Edwardsville mayor survived an objection to his candidacy.

The hearing officer in the case recommended Patton, who is also the Edwardsville mayor, be removed from the ballot after Patton also signed the election petitions for state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville. A person cannot sign petitions for multiple parties.

However, the board voted four to three to remove him from the ballot, but five votes were needed in order for the objection to be upheld, said State Board of Elections Public Information Officer Matt Dietrich.

Patton is the only Republican to file to run in the race.

The State Board of Elections also denied Katherine Ruocco’s objection of B. Marshall Hilmes being on the ballot. Ruocco and Hilmes, both Republicans, are running to fill the vacancy being left by Circuit Judge Jan Fiss in the 20th circuit.

Ruocco said in her objection Hilmes had registered to vote as “Brandon Marshall Hilmes” but is running as B. Marshall Hilmes, saying it would be confusing to voters.

A hearing officer said state law allows the combination of a given name, an initial or nickname on ballots, according to state board of elections documents.

According to state board of elections documents, Stephen Sampson’s objection of Tanya Hildenbrand being on the ballot in the 57th Senate District has been withdrawn. Hildenbrand is now set to go on to face Bob Romanik for the Republican nomination in the Senate district.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

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