GOP challenges candidacy of 8 Democrats for Will County Board
By Cindy Wojdyla Cain firstname.lastname@example.org July 18, 2012 3:18PM
Updated: August 20, 2012 11:46AM
JOLIET — The fate of eight Democrats who were appointed to the November ballot now rests in the hands of the Will County Electoral Board.
The three-member board will vote Tuesday on whether the candidates can remain on the Nov. 6 ballot in seven Will County Board districts.
Committees formed by the Democratic Party made the ballot appointments when vacancies remained after the March 20 primary. But challenges filed by Republicans claim the process used by the party to fill the vacancies was flawed.
Not every precinct committeeman in each district was properly notified that they could be on an appointment committee, said Republican Party Chairman Ed Ronkowski.
Ronkowski said case law shows proper notification is a fundamental prerequisite to protect each precinct committeeman’s right to vote on ballot appointments.
“The notifications were not legal notifications,” he said.
Democratic Party Chairman Scott Pyles said his party was “fully compliant” with legal requirements.
If the electoral board finds any violations, “Illinois law is pretty clear that parties are given some latitude in how they conduct their affairs,” he added. “I think the voters deserve a choice and we’re trying to provide them with one.”
The candidates who are being challenged are District 2, Mario P. Carlasare, Frankfort; District 3, Donald Moran, Romeoville; District 5, Reed Bible, Plainfield; District 7, Chester Strzelczyk III, Lockport; District 11, Chris Griffin, Naperville; District 12, Santino Lettieri and John Sanchez, both of Mokena; and District 13, Irene Garcia-Wittke.
Garcia-Wittke also is facing a challenge to the signatures she gathered for her nominating petitions.
Three hearings were held to debate the evidence. The electoral board is made up of Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots, Circuit Clerk Pam McGuire and Mary Tatroe, chief of the civil division for the state’s attorney’s office. Voots is a Republican; McGuire and Tatroe are Democrats.
Voots said she’s hoping the issue is resolved in time to send out absentee ballots on Sept. 27.
Electoral board members will announce their votes at 1 p.m. in the county board meeting room at the Will County Office Building, 302 N. Chicago St., Joliet.
Once the vote is taken Tuesday, the losing side in the dispute can appeal to the Will County Circuit Court, the Illinois Appellate Court and finally the Illinois Supreme Court.