Electoral board schedules hearings

2013-01-12T21:30:00Z Electoral board schedules hearingsGregory Tejeda Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
January 12, 2013 9:30 pm  • 

SOUTH HOLLAND | A Harvey official who wants to serve on the Thornton Township High School District 205 Board of Education said Saturday he thinks the Electoral Board process reviewing a challenge to his nominating petitions is a “waste of tax dollars.”

Keith Price was among the candidates who are having their nominating petitions for the April 9 elections for the high school board challenged.

He was upset that he could not present his motions as oral statements and that his case was not resolved on Saturday.

“This is really a waste of tax dollars,” he said. “I really expected this to be passed today.”

Price was ordered last year by an Illinois appeals court to resign from the Harvey City Council, the park district and an elementary school board. He was allowed to remain on the city’s library district.

In Price’s case, the challenge claims he does not have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions. Price said he filed 72 signatures. The objection says 33 of those signatures are from people who do not live within District 205 – which would leave him with 39 valid signatures. A minimum of 50 are required.

The Elections Board set a schedule for Price to file written legal motions arguing his case, along with attorney Keith L. Spence, to respond. A hearing would be held Jan. 28 at Thornton High School in Harvey to decide the case.

The board is chaired by Burt Odelson and two other members chosen by Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans.

Price said he had signature cards verifing that 22 of the 33 challenged signatures are legitimate, and said he was ready to present those on Saturday.

Electoral Board member Robert Bush said all cases were required in writing before any oral arguments were heard specifically to maintain a sense of order to the ballot challenges.

“It creates a much clearer record if everything is done in writing,” Bush said, adding it would create “a shotgun way of doing this” if some cases were done orally and others with written legal motions.

Few candidates complained. Several asked for time to be allowed to hire attorneys to handle the challenges.

School Board President Kenneth Williams, facing two separate challenges to his petitions, had a challenge by incumbent board member Ray Banks withdrawn on Saturday. He said the Electoral Board must be taken seriously.

“When you fight a challenge like this, you basically put your campaign in the hands of the Electoral Board,” Williams said.

That turned Saturday’s hearing into a 1.5-hour-long process of attorneys exchanging information with each other so legal motions and responses filed in upcoming weeks are given to the proper parties.

School Board member Judith Gibbs said the process has one beneficiary.

“It’s going to keep a lot of people employed, all these attorneys,” she said.

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