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Update: Attempt Filed To Knock Bloomington Mayor Off Ballot

Bloomington City Hall

A frequent critic of the Bloomington Mayor and Council has filed a challenge to the nominating petitions of Mayor Tari Renner.

Kevin Gerrard's objection to Renner's candidacy will be heard Monday morning at the County Government Complex in downtown Bloomington in the Commission offices, according to Bloomington Election Commission Director Paul Shannon.Gerrard alleged an insufficient number of valid signatures.
Renner said he is confident of an adequate number of signatures. Renner said he collected many more than required.
"About 300 more, almost 800 signatures. The minimum number is 489. And the law has always erred on the side of what they call inclusiveness," said Renner.

Renner said even if there are small technical errors in the form of the petitions, there should be no issue.

"The courts have been very clear. as long as somebody is a registered voter at a household and  they have signed, then the signatures can count toward putting your name on the ballot," said Renner.

He called the challenge frivolous.

"I think it's unfortunate that some people, frankly on the extreme fringes of the right, want to cheat their way into elections," said Renner.

Kevin Gerrard has, over a period of years, been critical of a wide range of city and council decisions, expressed through e-mails to media outlets and blog posts.  Gerrard said in an e-mail response that he is not a member of the far right.

"There is mounting evidence of widespread violations that will be presented at the hearing to included forged signatures and unregistered voters," said Gerrard.

Gerrard said the violations include forged signatures and unregistered voters.

Election Commission Director Shannon said he has heard of other potential challenges to candidate petitions, but only one has yet been filed.

There are five candidates for Mayor of Bloomington. They include Renner, Alderman Diana Hauman, Alderman Kevin Lower, former radio host Ian Bayne, and retired firefighter Robert Fike.

If all remain on the ballot the law would require a primary election to be held in February 28. 

WGLT Senior Reporter Charlie Schlenker has spent more than three award-winning decades in radio. He lives in Normal with his family.
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