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Electoral board throws out attempts to remove 2 Unit 5 school board candidates from the ballot

Electoral board meeting
Eric Stock
Objectors Brad Wurth, left, and Dennis Frank addressed the McLean County Electoral Board on Tuesday in an effort to get two Unit 5 candidates removed from the spring ballot.

Two Unit 5 school board candidates who tried to remove two opponents from the ballot for paperwork technicalities have had their objections dismissed on a technicality.

The McLean County Electoral Board on Tuesday tossed out objections Dennis Frank and Brad Wurth filed against two other candidates. Frank alleged Alex Williams did not properly list the name of the county on his paperwork. Wurth claimed Mark Stephen Adams II filed the wrong form to run for school board.

The three-member electoral board — comprised of McLean County Clerk Kathy Michael, circuit clerk Don Everhart and Trevor Sierra, a McLean County assistant state’s attorney — unanimously voted to dismiss the complaints because the objectors did not list their addresses on their forms.

“The requirement that the objection provide the address isn’t discretionary, it’s not something the electoral board can waive,” Sierra said.

Frank said he wasn’t aware of the requirement.

“I’m not a lawyer, I’m a candidate. It’s a legal loophole their lawyer found,” Frank said after the meeting, adding he consulted the 2023 Illinois State Board of Elections candidates guide to check the validity of the petitions other candidates filed.

Frank said he felt compelled to object to the petitions of other candidates after a recent case in which several McLean County Board candidates were tossed off the ballot for not numbering the pages on their nominating petitions. The electoral board in that case ruled against the objectors, who later got the candidates removed through an appeal to a circuit court judge. Several later filed as write-in candidates.

Frank and Wurth both said they do not intend to appeal. “It’s not really worth it,” Frank said.

Wurth said he submitted his objections with the McLean County Clerk’s office and was not informed of an address requirement.

“There was probably some assumption that we’re running for public office, our address is all over this information we have handed in,” Wurth said after the meeting.

Wurth said he doesn't want this to discourage candidates from seeking public office.

“Just by showing that candidacy guide, I hope that encourages people to know that this doesn’t have to be a huge mountain to climb. The resources are there, they are readily available. Let’s get more people involved in this process,” Wurth said.

Nine candidates have filed for four open seats on the Unit 5 school board. The election is April 4.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.