Joliet board mulls challenge to candidate’s petitions
By Bob Okon firstname.lastname@example.org January 16, 2013 3:52PM
Updated: February 19, 2013 2:10PM
Candidate David Piekosz still has a chance of staying on the ballot for the Joliet City Council election in April.
The Joliet Electoral Board on Wednesday heard evidence in the challenge to Piekosz’s petition and meets again at 3 p.m. Thursday for a possible decision.
The board also heard evidence on the challenge to John Gnutek’s candidacy.
Gnutek already announced that he’s giving up the campaign because of the petition challenge. But he remains on the ballot until the electoral board removes him or Gnutek takes the required steps to take himself off the ballot.
The case against Piekosz depends on whether the electoral board decides whether a handful of signatures on his nominating petitions are legitimate.
Bryan Kopman, the attorney representing objector Joseph Fischer, contends several signatures don’t match up with the signatures found in voter registration records.
“These look nothing alike,” Kopman said. “And, I don’t think you need any degree in handwriting analysis to reach that conclusion.”
Kopman contends that Piekosz does not have 157 valid signatures on his nominating petitions, which is required to be a candidate.
Kopman’s reference to handwriting analysis came after City Attorney Jeff Plyman advised the board that the law does not set a specific definition for what a signature must be.
“It just has to be the actual mark of the person intending to sign that document,” Plyman said. “It does not have to be in cursive, long-hand writing. It can be printed.”
Piekosz has not been at two electoral board hearings on the matter. Nor was he at a session in which Plyman and Kopman reviewed his petitions.
His wife, Carolyn Piekosz, contacted after the Wednesday hearing, said Piekosz works at a bank in downtown Chicago and has not been able to attend the meetings, which are held during business hours.
“He feels honored that so many people in the community have stepped up to sign his petitions,” Carolyn Piekosz said. But, “He’s really busy.”
Fischer attended the Wednesday hearing to testify that he was a registered Joliet voter, which is required for an objector. But he refused to talk to The Herald-News afterward as to how he came to challenge the petitions or whether he is connected to any of the candidates or their supporters.
If Piekosz and Gnutek are removed from the ballot, Troy Township Clerk Jim McFarland would be the only challenger to the three incumbents, Don Fisher, Jan Quillman and Michael Turk.