Evergreen Park mayoral challenger Shawn Good’s back is pressed against the ropes in her bid to get her name on the ballot in the upcoming April election.
Like many rookie candidates, an objection has been filed against Good’s nominating petitions for not being securely bound when turned into the village and for lacking the proper number of valid signatures. Good is challenging Mayor James Sexton in the upcoming consolidated election.
She represented herself before the Village of Evergreen Park’s electoral board on Jan. 10. Pending her objectors’ visit to the Cook County Clerk’s office to validate signatures on her petitions, whether or not her name ends up on the April 9th ballot will be decided on Thursday.
“It’s like a boxing ring. I’m going up against the heavy weight champ,” she said in a quick phone conversation before bell choir practice.
Asked why she thinks her nomination papers are being challenged by the associates of a two-term incumbent mayor, Good thinks its because most Evergreen Park village board members aren’t used to having competition--including the mayor.
“I think the mayor has done a wonderful job in Evergreen Park,” Good said, “but I’m running because I think I can cut the mayor’s current pay by 25 percent.”
Good didn’t elaborate how she intended to shave 25-percent off as mayor and liquor commissioner.
She does have other ideas for Evergreen Park if elected mayor, including initiating a “mayoral challenge” to local youth encouraging them to get fit, community-based farming and applying for grants to re-do the Recreation Center.
“I’d like to find out why there isn’t a park district,” she added.
Illinois’s election statutes don’t specify what is deemed an appropriate fastener to securely bind candidates' nominating petitions, such as a metal prong fastener. Some might say that the state statutes are purposely vague.
"The petition sheets shall be neatly fastened together in book form and fastened together at one edge in a secure and suitable manner."
Another beginner's mistake Good acknowledges making was not seeking legal counsel before she filed her nominating petitions.
“I’m trying to get an election attorney but they’re all very busy right now. Luckily I’m getting some legal advice,” she said.
In an elections survival workshop, Chicago attorneys Keri-Lyn Krafthefer and Adam Lasker advise wanna-be candidates that staples, paper clips and binder clips are not guaranteed to withstand the fastener challenge.
Courts have upheld local electoral board rulings to remove candidates from ballots for failure to securely bind nomination papers, e.g., using a paper clip, according to Krafthefer and Lasker’s Surviving the 2013 Elections candidates' guide.
The attorneys cite one divided electoral board, half who found that a 3/4-inch black “binder clip fastener” constituted a secure fastening device, while the other half deemed the nomination papers as “loosely filed.”
Two years ago, the Oak Lawn Community High School Dist. 229 electoral board overruled an objection against a school board candidate’s use of a paper clip, possibly because four other board members had fastened their own nominating papers with paper clips.
The purpose of using a secure fastener to bind nominating petitions is to prevent fraud and the slipping in of dummy sheets.
famed attorney Burt Odelson, representing the objectors, picked up Good’s paper-clipped petitions, which came apart and scattered on a board member’s desk.
When Patch examined Good’s petitions at the village clerk’s office, the sheets remained perfectly secured in their paper clip.
Good also is confidant that her petitions will withstand a signature check down at the county clerk’s office.
Most of those who signed her petitions were choir members, friends and neighbors.
“I went out on my own,” Good said. “Everyone who signed was very spirited.”
The objectors are Geoffrey Layhe and Anthony Yukich. Layhe has made $1,200 in campaign contributions, and Yukich donated $1,815 to Sexton’s slate, the United Homeowners/Good Government Party, according to Illinois State Board of Elections records.
Yukich also earned $10,800 performing “administrative duties” for the Good Government Party.
Their attorney, Odelson, has given $4.400 over the years to the Friends of James Sexton campaign fund.
Good is up before the village election board—consisting of village clerk Cathy Aparo, and trustees Carol Kyle and Jerry Bosch--Thursday at Village Hall. Because the petitions involve the mayor’s, he is disqualified from serving on the electoral board.
Should the ruling go against her, Good plans to appeal. She’s also weighing options to run as a write-in candidate.
If necessary, Good says she will fight all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.
“I understand there are so many against one, I’m just going to take it day by day,” she said. “If I don’t do it this time, I’ll be ready in four years. This is so exciting and fun for me. I’m enthusiastic.”
The Village of Evergreen Park electoral board hearing takes place at 9:30 a.m. Thursday (Jan. 17) in the council chambers at 9418 S. Kedzie Ave. The hearing is open to the public.
Should Shawn Good be allowed to remain on the ballot? Tell us in the comments.
Read more LOCAL election coverage:
- Shawn Good's Mayoral Petitions Challenged
- Higher Learning: Moraine Valley Board Seats on April Ballot
- Filing Deadline for Candidate Petitions Reached