Metro-East News

Belleville board votes to allow aldermanic candidate to remain on the April ballot

What you need to know about the April 2019 election

The 2019 municipal election is April 2. Here are some key dates and times you need to know if you're planning to vote.
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The 2019 municipal election is April 2. Here are some key dates and times you need to know if you're planning to vote.

The Belleville Electoral Board voted 3-0 Wednesday that Ward 7 Alderman Phil Elmore should remain on the ballot for the April 2 election.

Bruce Palmer had objected to Elmore’s petitions and cited over 20 complaints about the signatures Elmore collected and how he listed his home address.

As far as his home address, Elmore listed it at least 14 times as 534 LaFayette Blvd. but in two places on the filing documents, he did not include “Blvd.” as part of his address. That lack of uniformity was cited by Palmer in his objection.

But the board said in a seven-page ruling that there wasn’t evidence that petition signers were confused as to what they were signing.

“Although I’m appreciative of these procedures, it’s too bad there was extensive taxpayer dollars spent on something that was somewhat petty but a citizen exercised their right and questions were answered and that’s a good thing,” Elmore said after the vote.

Palmer said he does not plan to appeal the ruling.

Palmer, who lives in Ward 7, said didn’t have any issue with Elmore as an alderman.

But Palmer said he read the guidelines given to candidates and the information said the headings on the each petition sheet “shall” be the same and that two of Elmore’s eight sheets did not match the other six that listed Elmore address. On two of the sheets, Elmore did not list “Blvd.” as part of his address.

But the board’s decision cited a previous court ruling that indicated if voters were not confused about what they were signing, all of the signatures on Elmore’s petition would be valid.

“It is open to interpretation,” said Palmer, who noted another judge could have ruled another way.

The board also overruled objections that Palmer filed regarding the names people used when they signed Elmore’s petition sheets. The board said there was insufficient evidence provided by Palmer to declare the signatures invalid.

The Electoral Board is comprised of Mayor Mark Eckert, City Clerk Jenny Gain Meyer and the longest serving member of City Council, who is Ward 1 Alderman Ken Kinsella.

Elmore is the only candidate who filed to run in Ward 7.

Phil Elmore BND file photo

Elmore was an alderman from 2009 to 2013 and then was elected in 2015 for a term that ends next spring. He also ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2013.

Since 909 people voted in the last Ward 7 election, Elmore was required to collect 5 percent of that number, or at least 46 signatures, to get his name on the ballot. He submitted 69 signatures.

The board ruled that one signature is considered invalid because the person’s address did not match voter registration records.

Thirteen people are running for City Council seats but Elmore was the only candidate to face an objection.

Mike Koziatek joined the Belleville News-Democrat in 1998 as an assistant editor and is now a reporter covering the Belleville area. He graduated from Marquette University in Milwaukee and grew up in St. Louis.