SAUK VILLAGE | An Electoral Board whose members were appointed by the Cook County courts rejected the challenges filed against Sauk Village president candidates Derrick Burgess and Enoch Benson IV and their slates.
The board, consisting on Tuesday of attorneys John Greenspan and Nicholas Kefalos with member Daniel Kelley absent, rejected most of the claims that were filed by challengers to the Peoples Unity Party and the Citizens Reform Party.
The Peoples Unity Party is the slate of candidates headed by Burgess, while Benson heads the Citizens Reform Party.
In the case of Burgess, the Electoral Board found that the challenge asking to remove the Peoples Unity Party was flawed because it asked for the slate name to be removed without asking that the candidates be removed as well.
“It’s interesting that he doesn’t ask that the candidates be stricken, but only the party name be stricken,” Greenspan said.
Derrick Thompson, the man who filed the Peoples Unity Party challenge, said he believes that striking the party name also takes out the candidates.
“How can you have one without the other?” Thompson said. “It’s not just a name, it’s the people associated with the party.”
Thompson’s challenge also claimed that the “loyalty” oaths filed by the Peoples Unity Party’s candidates were flawed in that they bore an illustration of a U.S. flag.
Greenspan said that does not matter because the oaths were not a requirement for a spot on the April 9 municipal election ballots.
The Electoral Board also rejected the claims that the signature of clerk candidate Marva Campbell-Pruitt was not legitimate. She and Burgess both testified Tuesday that it was.
The board also supported the Benson slate of candidates by picking apart the challenges filed by Jacqueline Ford, a supporter of former Village President Lewis Towers who is backing the campaign of Bernice Brewer-Houston. Brewer-Houston is running on the Citizens for Empowerment slate that Towers originally was going to use for re-election until he decided last year to resign the post altogether.
At one point during Tuesday’s hearing, Ford said she thought the Electoral Board, with its questions about specific points, was being dismissive of her complaints.
“Everything I say is right, but I’m through and you seem to be through,” she said.
Kefalos said, “I know this can be overwhelming, but I’m trying to understand what (Ford’s) objections are.”
The Electoral Board also criticized a part of Ford’s complaint that claimed 58 signatures on the nominating petitions were invalid. Benson’s slate filed 394 signatures of support. Without the 58 signatures, the slate still would have 336, far in excess of the 81 required by law to qualify for the ballot.
Orders affirming the Unity and Reform party spots on the ballot will be signed Jan. 29, and any appeals to the Cook County Circuit Court must be filed within five working days of that date.
The Electoral Board in Sauk Village will reconvene Wednesday to hear challenges to independent candidacies, including David Hanks for village president, Debbie Williams for village clerk and Rosie Williams for village trustee.
Those electoral boards will be filled with village officials, rather than outside attorneys appointed by the court.