Four members of the Mokena Village Board of Trustees hoping to run for re-election may not have their names on the ballot in April.
Objections were made to the petitions for candidacy filed by Mayor Joe Werner and Trustees Joe Siwinski, John Mazzorana and George Metanias.
The objections were filed by the Mokena Friends and Neighbors Candidates — a group of nonpartisan, non-incumbent candidates also running for various positions within the village. The Friends and Neighbors include Frank Fleischer, Jenifer Sciaky, Mary Beth Winberg, Vincent L. Di Fiore and Tony Bruozas.
According to Karl Ottosen, the team’s legal advisor, the Friends and Neighbors object to the petitions filed by Werner, Siwinski and Mazzorana on the grounds that none of the petitions contain the minimum number of signatures from registered voters who live in Mokena. For the 2012 election, village candidates are required to collect at least 223 valid signatures.
The objection to Metanias’ petition is on the grounds that he withdrew his petition after filing it and then filed it again later on the same day with the same signatures he included on the petition when he originally filed, which is prohibited by the Illinois Election Code, according to Ottosen.
“You don’t do these things lightly,” said Ottosen, who believes there is a sound legal basis for the challenge.
In order to move forward with the objection, the Friends and Neighbors must review the questionable signatures by comparing the signatures on the candidate petitions to those on the corresponding voter registrations. They must also confirm that registered voters reside at the addresses listed on the petitions and that the addresses are located in Mokena.
“It’s a process of verification,” said Mayor Joe Werner, whose petition included approximately 265 signatures. “I’m very confident in the signatures that we have.”
Village attorneys are currently carrying out the state procedures for a petition objection. A meeting will be held before an electoral board in the near future to address the matter.
Typically the electoral board would comprise of the mayor, the village clerk and the village board’s most senior trustee. However, because all of those individuals are directly involved in the objections, the Chief Judge of Will County will appoint a board to oversee the proceedings
“This is all part of the voting process,” Werner said.
John Mazzorana and George Metanias did not respond to Patch’s request for comment. Joe Siwinski was unavailable to make a statement.
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