The Belleville electoral board on Thursday voted 3-0 to remove treasurer candidate Ryan Moore from the April 4 ballot because he did not have enough valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.
Treasurer Dean Hardt, who has filed to run for re-election, objected to Moore’s petition and alleged Moore did not have the required number of signatures.
Moore said he is considering whether to appeal the electoral board’s decision to the circuit court. He has five days to file an appeal.
Hardt said Moore needed 328 valid signatures based on 5 percent of the people who voted in 2013 during the last citywide treasurer’s election. But Moore said he only needed 221 signatures based on 5 percent of the people who voted in the last city election, which was in 2015 when aldermen were elected to the City Council.
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Both Moore and Hardt stipulated at the beginning of the board’s hearing that Moore had 274 valid signatures.
Obviously this proves Mr. Hardt was in with Mr. Eckert and it was decided before we even got here today.
“It’s just unfortunate,” Moore said after the board voted to remove him from the ballot. “They should let the voters decide since it was a two-man race to see who was really going to win.”
Hardt said, “As I appreciate Ryan M. Moore’s enthusiasm to be a candidate for treasurer, I found it my responsibility as being a voter in the city of Belleville to object to his petition on the grounds that it was insufficient and did not contain a valid number of signatures.”
The board based its decision on advice from City Attorney Garrett Hoerner, who also serves as the attorney for the electoral board, which usually includes the mayor, city clerk and the city’s most senior alderman.
Mayor Mark Eckert and Ward 6 Alderman Paul Seibert were on the board Thursday, but City Clerk Dallas Cook did not serve because Eckert and Seibert voted to remove Cook from the board last week. Belleville Township Trustee Joe Hubbard was appointed by St. Clair County Chief Judge Andrew Gleeson to replace Cook.
“I think the law is clear in this case,” Hoerner told the board before they voted.
Hoerner said an appellate court ruling stemming from Des Plaines in 1981 showed that cities such as Belleville should base the number of signatures needed for a treasurer’s petition based on the number of people who voted in the last treasurer’s election.
Moore, who is 31, said the board’s actions shows that city leaders “don’t like young people” because young people bring about change.
“Obviously this proves Mr. Hardt was in with Mr. Eckert and it was decided before we even got here today,” Moore said.
Eckert, who serves as chairman of the electoral board, said it was “unfortunate” that Moore believed he could use the numbers based on 2015 election.
“I think it’s very clear that we followed the law,” Eckert said.
Belleville resident Billie King also objected to Moore’s candidacy based on a complaint similar to Hardt’s and the electoral board upheld King’s objection after hearing from his attorney, Cathy MacElroy.
The electoral board had been scheduled to hear an objection to Ward 8 alderman candidate Patrick Spivey’s petition but Spivey has withdrawn his petition.