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Judge upholds booting 7 Dems off Will ballot

Updated: January 31, 2013 1:41PM

JOLIET — A Will County judge has upheld a ruling that kicked seven Democrats running for county board off the November ballot.

The decision made July 24 by the Will County Electoral Board was 2-1 in favor of removal because of problems with the way the candidates were appointed to the ballot. Judge Bobbie Petrungaro affirmed that decision Thursday after a court hearing Tuesday.

None of the Democrats ran in the primary, so the Will County Democratic Party met in May to form committees that appointed candidates in some races. Notification to precinct committeemen of that meeting was vague or nonexistent, argued Republicans who challenged the appointments.

Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots, who chaired the electoral board, was pleased with Petrungaro’s ruling.

“I’m glad the judge agreed with our decision,” she said Thursday. “I’m in favor of having candidates on the ballot, but you have to follow the law. It’s very simple.”

Democrats argued that their meeting notice substantially complied with the law and that there is some leeway given to political parties to handle ballot appointments.

Democratic Party Chairman Scott Pyles could not be reached for comment. But he has indicated in the past that if he lost in Petrungaro’s court, he would take the matter to the Illinois Appellate Court. Typically, the Appellate Court rules quickly with an opinion to follow so the ballots can be printed. Sometimes, the Illinois Supreme Court weighs in later after the election is over, Pyles explained.

Candidates who were booted off the ballot are: Mario Carlasare, Frankfort, Donald Moran, Romeoville, Reed Bible, Plainfield, Chester Strzelczyk III, Lockport, Chris Griffin, Naperville, Santino Lettieri, Mokena, and John Sanchez Jr., Mokena.

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