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Attorney says petitions for non-elective offices in Normal cannot be certified for the 2023 election

Normal signage

Outside legal counsel retained by the Town of Normal in recent weeks said three petitions of candidacy filed for nonexistent or appointed offices within the municipality cannot legally be certified for the 2023 election.

Normal officials retained Chicago-based Michael Kasper of Kasper and Nottage to review petitions filed by residents Robert Shoraga, Charles Sila and Amy Conklin.

Shoraga and Sila filed petitions of candidacy Nov. 28 for the currently nonexistent offices of town supervisor and town collector and Conklin filed to run for clerk, a position that has historically been appointed.

Town spokesperson Cathy Oloffson said Nov. 29 the town had turned over the petitions for a review of their "legal conformity," saying once that review was complete, the town would "take appropriate action under the state Election Code."

In letters mailed to each of the three candidates late last week, Kasper wrote that none of the three petitions conform with legal requirements, meaning "the Town cannot certify your name to the County Clerk for inclusion on the 2023 municipal ballot for election to an office that is not an elective office under the Town Code, and your name will not appear on the ballot."

Reached by WGLT on Wednesday, Shoraga said he's not sure this will change what he does in the short term.

"A Chicago attorney does not decide elections in Normal, Illinois — unless something has changed that I don't know about," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, everything is the way it was because the town has not notified me of anything different."

Sila said Wednesday he wasn't necessarily surprised at the outcome of the legal review, but took a conspiratorial perspective of the determination.

"They want to create a situation that is favorable to their position and I'm vaguely of the opinion that their position is questionable at best," he said.

Conklin could not be reached for comment.

Sila added he expects the three candidate-hopefuls will end up trying to take the matter to court and are "anticipating getting (legal counsel) in the near future."

In the meantime, the Normal Electoral Board will convene as planned Friday morning to hear objections against the petitions that were filed by Normal residents Patrick Dullard and Jeffrey Fritzen earlier this week.

While it may seem redundant to convene an electoral board meeting to hear objections after the town's legal counsel determined the petitions to be legally invalid, Oloffson said the town is required by law to hear the objections, since they were already filed.

The Normal Electoral Board will meet at 11 a.m. Friday in the council chambers at City Hall in Uptown Station.

Lyndsay Jones is a reporter at WGLT. She joined the station in 2021. You can reach her at lljone3@ilstu.edu.