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Local races shaping up for April election

DeKalb City Clerk Diane Wright looks over the nominating petition of 1st Ward Alderman David Jacobson. Jacobson is running for the mayor of DeKalb.
DeKalb City Clerk Diane Wright looks over the nominating petition of 1st Ward Alderman David Jacobson. Jacobson is running for the mayor of DeKalb.

David Jacobson was the last candidate to file his petition for DeKalb mayor.

DeKalb’s 1st Ward alderman filed his petition about 10 minutes before the 5 p.m. deadline Wednesday so he could size up the competition. The other three mayoral candidates – DeKalb School District 428 board member Mike Verbic, former Ag/Monsanto employee John Rey, and former Re:New DeKalb executive director Jennifer Groce – filed their petitions the first day.

“It was important for me to see who else would be out there and see where their platforms were going to be,” Jacobson said. “And it turned out, no one else turned their packets in.”

The April ballot won’t be finalized until the end of January, though.

Now that candidates for local park boards, township offices, library boards and school boards have filed their petitions, area residents can file objections to the candidate petitions through Jan. 3, DeKalb County Clerk John Acardo said.

Then, officials will hold lotteries to determine the order candidates who filed their petitions at the same time are listed on the ballot.

Local government bodies have until Jan. 22 to decide whether they are going to hold a referendum.

DeKalb voters could see contested races for mayor and two of the three aldermanic races, while Genoa has uncontested races for clerk and aldermen and two people running for mayor. Three incumbents filed petitions for four seats on the Sycamore School District 427 board.

Six people are running for four seats on the Somonauk School District 432 board.

That is, if there are no successful challenges to the petitions.

Acardo said a registered voter can file an objection to a petition within their jurisdiction. For example, a person living in DeKalb’s 2nd Ward can file an objection against candidates running for 2nd Ward alderman, but not the 4th Ward.

Like the candidate petitions, an objection is filed with the election authority that oversees that particular office. An election hearing will be scheduled three to five days after the chairman of the local electoral board has received the nominating petition and any objection petitions.

“It’s important to note all nomination papers are valid until they have been challenged,” Acardo said.

State law details the make-up of the electoral boards, but they all consist of the same three members: the mayor or board president, the clerk or secretary, and the longest-serving member of the particular board or council. The law also provides for member absences and conflicts of interest.

Acardo said the losing party in a hearing – be it the candidate or the objector – can appeal the decision to the circuit court, which has 30 days after that filing to consider the decision.

Acardo advised any would-be objectors to seek legal counsel before they file the objection.

“Be specific,” Acardo said. “Where are there violations? Why are there violations? And what relief do you expect from the election board?”

Acardo said since he’s been in office, there have been a few challenges in the county. He said there were a handful for the 2011 elections, and one in the 2012 general election.

“It’s not substantial,” Acardo said. “I’d say it’s pretty average for counties of our size.”

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