Two candidates win the name game

2014-02-25T19:15:00Z 2014-02-25T20:44:00Z Two candidates win the name gameBill Dolan bill.dolan@nwi.com, (219) 662-5328 nwitimes.com
February 25, 2014 7:15 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Lake County elections officials removed four candidates from the May 6 primary and turned back challenges to three others.

They aren't sure what to do with one candidate who wishes he never filed in the first place.

The five-member election board voted Tuesday to keep St. John Township Trustee Jean E. Shepherd on the ballot under her own name. She is running for re-election as administrator of township poor relief for the Tri-Town area.

Daniel Langmesser, of Schererville, her opponent in the primary, claimed her name was wrong.

He said it should be Shepherd Adams following her marriage to the late Hank Adams, former county assessor. Shepherd showed board members her driver's license and other identification documents indicating she didn't change her name.

The board agreed to let George Vukmirovich, of Cedar Lake, run as a Republican for Hanover Township Board even though he misnamed the office he was seeking.

Michelle Fajman, the elections director, challenged Vukmirovich on grounds his candidate paperwork incorrectly stated he was running for Cedar Lake Township Board, an office that doesn't exist.

Vukmirovich said he wanted to run for Hanover Township Board, but a miscommunication between him and an elections board worker resulted in the confusion.

The board removed Dana Voss-Stepp as a Democratic candidate for Winfield Township Board on grounds she wasn't a properly registered voter of the township.

Voss-Stepp said she has long been an active voter, but recently moved to Winfield from Crown Point. She didn't update her voter registration address until Feb. 5 when she filled out her paperwork to run for township board.

Election officials said Voss-Stepp waited too long. Such changes require several days before they are recorded, and the candidate filing period expired before her new address became official.

The board also disqualified Susan Suroviak, a Republican who wanted to run for St. John Town Council Ward 3, under a new state law requiring candidates to establish their party affiliation before running for office. Party affiliation can be established either by voting in a recent party primary — where voters must declare themselves a Democrat or Republican — or getting permission to run from their party's county chairman.

The board received an unexpected request from Omar M. "Carl Hemphill" Abdallah, of Gary, to drop him from the ballot as a Democratic candidate for the 3rd District County Council seat.

Abdallah said he is a nurse at a Veterans Administration facility and he was just informed of the Hatch Act, a law that forbids federal government employees from running for partisan public offices.

Kevin Smith, chairman of the election board, said officials will look into his request but may be unable to help him since the deadline for candidate withdrawal was two weeks ago.

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