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Local News

Few objections filed over local candidate petitions

WILL COUNTY – Petition challenges for the April elections were due by the end of the business day Tuesday.

Just a handful of objections were filed, according to a check by The Herald-News Tuesday with numerous municipal and countywide offices handling nominating papers.

Objections were filed in Lockport Township Fire Protection District, Fountaindale Library District, and Joliet City Council. A check with officials in Crest Hill, Lockport, New Lenox, Plainfield and Romeoville yielded no challenges, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Lockport Township Fire Protection District candidate Grant Spooner’s election petitions were challenged by Jim Pelc, a Lockport resident, who alleges Spooner made changes to his petition post-filing.

“The objection is based on … Spooner changing his petitions for nomination after they (had) already been filed,” Pelc wrote in his objection, noting two pages were filed without any term or position circled.

A second challenge came from Maurice Binns II, of Bolingbrook, who alleges Anne Burley, a candidate for Fountaindale Public Library District Board, does not have a sufficient number of signatures. Some who signed the petition live outside the library district, and in some cases, ditto marks were used in address lines, Binns II wrote in the objection.

In Joliet, City Councilwoman Bettye Gavin’s election petitions have been challenged by one of her opponents, James Foster, who alleges she broke federal law by collecting signatures at the nonprofit agency where she serves as executive director. The objection also alleges personnel at the center obtained signatures on Gavin’s behalf.

In the objection, filed Monday, Foster alleges he discovered the violation when a person he approached to sign his petition said they had “already signed” Gavin’s petition at the Forest Park Community Center.

Under the federal tax code, nonprofits cannot “participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition of) any candidate for public office.”

Gavin, executive director at the center, said earlier this week she has “no problem” with anybody objecting to her nominating petitions.

“I followed the guidelines … so I don’t have a problem with someone trying to challenge,” she said.

Gavin added she’s “well aware” of the boundaries between 501(c)(3) organizations and political campaigning, with 30-plus years experience with nonprofits.

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