CROWN POINT — The Lake County elections board removed 18 candidates from the May 8 primary ballot, but retained two incumbent county council members seeking re-election.

The five-member, bipartisan elections board voted Tuesday to deny challenges to the candidacies of 1st District Lake County Councilman Dave Hamm, D-Hammond, and 5th District Councilwoman Christine Cid, D-East Chicago.

Both Democratic and Republican members of the election board rejected arguments by opponents to Hamm and Cid that the incumbent county officials had failed to properly complete the paperwork needed to run for public office. 

The election board turned aside a similar challenge to Dorothy "Dot" Spires, but did remove Catherine Campbell. The two Gary Democrats had both filed earlier this year to run for the 2nd District County Council seat. Campbell failed to complete her entire candidate application form.

Campbell's departure leaves three Democrats to challenge incumbent Councilwoman Elsie Franklin, D-Gary, for the 2nd District seat: Spires, Jeremy M. Yancey, and Clorius L. Lay.

In the race for North Township board, elections officials removed Darren Taylor, one of 11 Democratic candidates, but denied challenges to: Philip T. King, Edwardo Banda Sr., Jovanka Ivetic and Al "Jr." Weems, all of Hammond.

The board removed 16 candidates for Lake County Democratic precinct committee seats on they grounds they had no record voting as Democrats in the last election and failed to officially certify their party affiliation or get permission from the Hammond Democratic chairman to run for committee members.

Three other challenges to Democratic precinct committee members were dropped.

Hammond City Councilman Anthony W. Higgs told the election board he thought it was unfair to remove Democratic precinct committee member candidates who were challenged. "What if they just moved here? This is pushing people away from the political process."

Campbell criticized the election board for removing her from the ballot over an application error, but overlooking an incorrect residential address entered on the application form of Yancey, her opponent.