Evanston’s Electoral Board voted this morning to keep all five mayoral candidates on the ballot for February’s primary election.

The board rejected a challenge from candidate Jeff Smith seeking to reject the petitions of the other four candidates.

Last month it had rejected a similar challenge from a supporter of mayoral candidate and 9th Ward Alderman Brian Miller.

The board’s chair, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, said none of the issues raised by the objectors were serious enough to deny ballot access to the candidates or the voters who had signed their petitions.

Board member and Alderman Ann Rainey, 8th Ward, said she had always found election campaigns in Evanston previously to be “very honorable” but that this campaign had been “unpleasant and unkind.”

“Even Chicago hasn’t risen to this in my experience,” Rainey added.

City Clerk and Electoral Board member Rodney Greene said he believed the city should make it easy for people to get on the ballot so the citizens can decide who they want for the position.

Greene said he’s already sent the names of all five candidates to the County Clerk’s office, but it would be up to them to decide the order in which the candidates’ names appeared on the ballot.

After the meeting Smith said he hadn’t made a final decision about whether to appeal the board’s decision to Circuit Court, but that he was leaninig against an appeal, given the time required to conduct his campaign.

Tisdahl said no candidate should have to be a lawyer, or have to hire one, to be able to run for election in Evanston.

Smith and Miller are the only lawyers in this year’s mayoral race.

Related story

Board promises mayoral ballot decision Wednesday (1/9/17)

More Election 2017 news

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

11 replies on “Board votes to keep all five mayoral candidates on ballot”

  1. I agree with decision

    I’m pleased to know that all 5 candidates will be on the ballot.

    Let the voters decide our next Mayor.

    I and I’d expect others will remember the actions taken by Miller and Smith.

    Not necessary, not appropriate, not Evanston.


  2. Now that the distractions are over…

    Now that the distractions are over, can we have a conversation about our City and its problems?

    I’m sure all five of these candidates have great ideas on what we should be doing, but all I’ve been hearing for weeks is about this procedural mess.  We’ve got bigger problems than unclear election guidelines.

    So how about next time, the City publish a “how to run for office in Evanston” pamphlet with all the minutiae spelled out clearly, and we stop wasting time on this?

  3. So, is Evanston going to have a primary?

    Was the issue of having/not having a primary in February discussed?

    1. Yes, Virginia there will be a primary

      There will be a primary on 2/28 with all 5 mayoral candidates, as well as a primary for the 5th ward.

  4. Mayoral Election

    I don’t know any of the candidates but I would not vote for anyone who tries to win on a technicality. The mayor should be elected on merit not by default.

  5. PUNT!

    John, the issue was mentioned in passing to the extent that Liz stated that “there would be a primary,” but that is not actually stated in the Board ruling nor was the reason for the statement explained or discussed. Quite the opposite, the ruling said that that fundamental question, like the question of whether or not Evanston has nonpartisan elections, was an “extraneous issue.” Sort of in the way that a heart or a lung is an extraneous organ.:) But Clerk Greene has declared it and certified the first 4 candidates to the County. 

    So I called and asked, how do I get certified? I filed as an independent for the April 4 election only. No one has challenged the correctness of that filing. Am I getting that status stripped away for the primary, by administrative fiat? Or am I to be listed as an independent on the ballot and the others — what? Hagerty filed as “non-partisan.” I have never seen “non partisan” listed as label. If that’s his are the others blank? Do they say “Other”? In their haste to reach the outcome they wanted, the Board’s trampling of law overlooks practical but important details like this, which in normal communities where Illinois law governs, are taken seriously.

    So, unless someone sues — which the ruling practically invites — we are heading toward a primary that 3 of the 5 candidates did not even mention on their petitions, and a possible Feb. 28 final ELECTION (with no April runoff) that not a single petition signer was advised of during the petition process. “Fair”, right? Essentially, the Board said that having 342 signatures is all that matters, no matter what else is on the paper by which a candidate secures them. The rest of mandatory Section 10-4 of the Code? Laws, schmawz. The Board punted on what was correct here — what was the correct filing date, what was the correct election, what’s the correct ballot order. With no rationale given but “fairness” (ignoring hundreds of rulings which explain why reasonable election rules in fact epitomize fairness, and ignoring that the consequences of this Board ruling are NOT equitably distributed, since a mayoral-only primary skews everything). They throw it back in Rodney’s lap.

    It’s really ironic. The municipal Code ordinance is a friggin’ 1500 page phone book. The City is infamous throughout the region for making it impossible to move without tripping over a law or three. But when asked, themselves, to apply the most fundamental law of democracy….

    1. Yes, Jeff, it is ironic

      Jeff Smith says  : 

      “It’s really ironic. The municipal Code ordinance is a friggin’ 1500 page phone book. The City is infamous throughout the region for making it impossible to move without tripping over a law or three.  ….”

      Yes, Jeff, Evanston is over-regulated.  That’s what businessmen and developers have been saying for years. Every time someone wants to put up a new building or a store  or restaurant, they face zoning or height restrictions, and the activist “Neighbors” turn out en-masse at the council meetings and the lawn signs sprout up all over the lakefront and north side.  

      I’m glad to see that you, of all people,  have finally recognized this.

  6. school board referendum
    I’m simply interested in each candidates position on the school board referendum. My taxes are high enough. Is anyone opposed to this?

  7. I Won’t Vote for Jeff Smith
    Before his shameful attempt to remove all his opponents from the ballot, I had considered voting for Jeff Smith for mayor. Now I wouldn’t consider voting for him. My vote will go to a more responsible candidate.

  8. Be concerned

    With the rulings complete and voters facing two elections I caution

    Voters to be careful with the aldermanic votes. Many readers have said that they will not the vote for

    Smith or Miller due to their behavior but do they realize that several alderman running both agree with, are endorsed by, and have canvassed with these guys? You’re vote is importnat, if you think Miller and Smith don’t deserve your vote, then make sure you don’t vote in an alderman who thinks the same way 

  9. Election ?

    Now can we move ahead and let the VOTERS decide the next mayor and Alderpersons ?

    enough of this infighting and bickering.  Let the decision be made in the ballot box!

    that’s the Evanston way.

Comments are closed.