CALUMET CITY | An attorney representing mayoral hopeful Brian Wilson and his slate of candidates for city clerk, treasurer and seven aldermanic posts said Tuesday he expects the city’s Electoral Board to remove all of them from the Feb. 26 Democratic primary ballot.
John Jawor, who began negotiating with the Electoral Board on Tuesday, said he expects to have to take his case to the courts to ultimately ensure ballot spots for Wilson and his allies, who are challenging Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush and her slate.
“You look at the composition of the board, and it is obvious how they’re going to act,” Jawor said. “I expect we’re going to have to go to the Circuit Court, if not the Appellate Court, in order to get fairness.”
Qualkinbush declined to comment.
Jawor said he won’t be surprised if the Electoral Board ultimately rules along the lines of Qualkinbush’s desires. He says that's because she, Figgs, whom Qualkinbush appointed to the clerk’s post last year, and 2nd Ward Alderman Magdalena “Leni” Wosczynski, who is a Qualkinbush supporter on the council, comprise the Electoral Board. Third Ward Alderman Thaddeus Jones fills in when one of those officials has a conflict of interest.
The Electoral Board met Tuesday for just over two hours, where dates were scheduled for attorneys for the various candidates to file written briefs and responses.
All of the cases were continued to Dec. 21, when the Electoral Board likely will spend the entire day hearing oral arguments and ruling on the merits of the 17 challenges they now face.
Most of those objections were filed by supporters of Qualkinbush.
Wilson’s backers filed their own challenges against the ballot spots for Qualkinbush, mayoral candidate Victor Green and City Clerk Nyota Figgs.
Jawor filed several legal motions trying to get Figgs and Wosczynski removed from the Electoral Board, asking Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans to appoint replacements. Those motions were not acted upon Tuesday.
Even so, Jawor said it was possible some of the candidates would survive the Electoral Board process.
“Maybe justice will be served in Calumet City,” he said.
In most cases, the candidates allied with Wilson are alleged to have obtained too many signatures of support, and also did not have their nominating petitions properly notarized.
In the case of RaMonde Williams, who sides with Wilson and wants to take his 4th Ward aldermanic post, opponents say he is in violation of the federal Hatch Act.
They contend that because Williams’ day job is with the Cook County sheriff’s police that receives federal funding, he can be considered a federal employee who would be restricted from running for any elected office.
“It’s nonsense,” Jawor said, adding that city officials do not have the legal authority to enforce such a complaint.
One candidate was removed from the ballot Tuesday. Mark Amen, a former city electrician who wants to run for mayor, did not attend his hearing, causing the Electoral Board to vote 3-0 to remove him from the ballot.
He can be restored if he comes up with an acceptable written explanation as to why he was not present when the Electoral Board meets again next week.