Evanston’s Electoral Board Monday postponed action until Friday on most of the objections to nominating petitions for mayoral and city clerk candidates.

Objections to the petitions of two mayoral candidates centered on whether their petitions specified the correct election date.

Attorney Scott Erdman, representing objector William Arndt, said the petitions of Alderman Mark Tendam, 6th Ward, did not specify the February primary election.

But alderman and board member Ann Rainey said each petition sheet did show the primary date. “I don’t see any basis for the objection,” Rainey said. Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, who chairs the Electoral Board, said she agreed with Rainey.

But they voted to postpone action until Friday to give both sides time to submit briefs on the issues raised.

In 1992 Evanston voters approved a referendum by a roughly 55 to 45 percent margin that called for holding a primary in the mayoral race if more than four candidates qualified to run for the office.

Five candidates ran for mayor in the next muncipal election in 1993, and several complained that holding the primary doubled the cost of running for office.

It appears that Evanston hasn’t had enough mayoral candidates to hold a primary since — although there’s still the possibility of having one next year.

Only four candidates have filed petitions so far, but a fifth has said he plans to file before the close of the December filing period announced by the clerk’s office.

Attorney James Nally with mayoral candidate Steve Hagerty.

Candidate Steve Hagerty’s petitions specified the April 4 date of the consolidated general election.

And, against objections from Arndt that that was the wrong date, Hagerty’s attorney, James Nally, said the only certain election is the one on April 4.

“The petitions are correct,” Nally said, “and are in compliance with the law.”

He also said Hagerty’s statement of candidacy noted the possibility of the February primary.

But Erdman said that under the language of the 1992 referendum, if a candidate won a majority in the February primary, there wouldn’t be an April election for mayor.

A hearing on objections to the petitions of a third mayoral candidate, Gary Gaspard, was postponed until Friday, after Gaspard failed to appear on time. He arrived more than 90 minutes late. He said he hadn’t received notice of the hearing and only learned of it when a supporter mentioned it to him this morning.

The board did vote to dismiss one of two objections to the candidacy of Devon Reid for city clerk.

Joan Hickman.

Long-time Evanston resident Joan Hickman had challenged his candidacy saying he was unqualified, too new in town and didn’t understand the role of the clerk in city government.

Mayor Tisdahl said Hickman’s views might “be a very valid reason not to vote for someone,” but that “you can’t remove someone from the ballot for that reason.”

So the board voted to dismiss Hickman’s objection.

The other objection to Reid’s candidacy, filed by Lynne Greene, the wife of incumbent City Clerk Rodney Greene, focused on whether Reid had filed a receipt for his statement of economic interests in a timely fashion.

Greene argued that he needed to have filed it in November, but Reid contended that he had until the last day the clerk set for accepting petitions, Dec. 19.

The board asked both sides in that dispute to submit briefs in time for the board to review them on Friday.

Friday’s meeting is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. in Room 2404 of the Civic Center.

Tisdahl said the city has a long tradition of promoting ballot access, but would follow the state election code in making its decisions.

Related story

Challenges filed to mayoral, clerk candidates (12/11/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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