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S. Elgin panel rejects candidate challenges

Jim Hansen South Elgvillage president

Jim Hansen, South Elgin village president

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Updated: February 23, 2013 6:24AM

SOUTH ELGIN — The paperclip that incumbent Jim Hansen used to keep together his two-page nomination packet for village board president was sufficient binding under Illinois law, a three-person election board decided Monday.

The same panel also said the two-page petition packets that incumbent Trustees William DiFulvio and John Sweet turned in were in “substantial compliance” with Illinois election law and that those board candidates also should be allowed to remain on the April 9 ballot.

Objections to the three candidates’ nomination packets had been filed by Gary Hyman, a former village trustee who was defeated in the 2005 elections by just 15 votes, and by resident Warren Redmond.

Objections to DiFulvio’s nomination papers included that the two-page packet’s pages were not numbered and that the date of the election was not written at the top of the page. Other objections were that Hansen and Sweet did not properly bind their election packets — using a paper clip to secure the pages in Hansen’s case, and not binding either of the two pages in Sweet’s.

The election board unanimously voted, saying it did not believe those errors in the paperwork were serious enough to keep the candidates off the ballot.

The electoral board meeting, held at the South Elgin Village Hall, became contentious at times as Redmond accused the panel of ignoring case law and state law to allow the candidates to remain on the ballot.

“I am curious as to what we will come up with … . I am at a loss that we do not follow the rules that the law put forth,” Redmond said as he began to argue his objections to Sweet’s nominating petitions, the last of the three objections being heard.

Sweet had numbered his pages as “Page one of two” and “page two of two,” while sitting in the village clerk’s office, Sweet said. He had the pages clipped together before doing that bit of housekeeping, he said, and did not realized he didn’t have the papers clipped together before handing in the packet officially.

‘How dare you’

Village Trustee Mike Kolodziej, one of three officials on the electoral board, took exception to Redmond’s rhetoric.

“Don’t tell me I am breaking the law. There have been cases that have countered the cases that you have presented. I am hearing other evidence than (what) you have presented.

“How dare you,” Kolodziej said.

In a twist, however, the pages for DiFulvio were numbered at some point before the objection hearing. DiFulvio said he spoke to an election attorney who said that would be acceptable. None of the electoral board members — Kolodziej, Village Clerk Margo Gray or Village Trustee Steve Ward — said they know when DiFulvio was given access to the pages.

The election board attorney, Keri-Lyn Krafthefer, said there was past case law that allowed sheets to be numbered retroactively, and that case law had upheld candidates in situations when not all pages were numbered.

Jon Zahm, a political consultant who had worked with Hyman and Redmond, said he planned to contact the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office immediately about alleged tampering.

Hyman said two weeks ago that he objected to the three candidates, in part because of a “bad taste in his mouth” after a South Elgin man was booted four years ago for not paying his water bill. That resident was three months’ behind on the bill when he submitted his nomination packet.

That case and the three heard Monday were “apples and oranges” as far has he was concerned, Kolodziej said. He also served on that electoral board.

“That was an issue of delinquency, and the bill was paid after the fact,” Kolodziej said. “That was three months that his water bill had not been paid.”

Hansen said the entire objection was more than “tit-for-tat” and was retribution for past elections. “This is a vendetta.”

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