Tolono board to decide ballot challenge

Tolono board to decide ballot challenge

TOLONO — The village electoral board will reconvene next week to decide how to respond to an objection filed against the nominating petition of a village president candidate.

At that time, there will be public deliberation, and board member Mike Golish is expected to present a proposed finding of fact and a decision on an objection raised by Rena M. Anderson against a nominating petition filed by Greg Cler.

Anderson, an eight-year employee of the Champaign County clerk's office, said at a hearing Thursday that she believes Cler did not meet the legal requirements for candidates.

"I did not single out Mr. Cler," Anderson said.

On Jan. 8, Anderson, a resident of the 700 block of North Vorcey Street, filed an objection with the village, claiming Cler obtained 22 fraudulent signatures. Cler obtained 64 signatures; a minimum of 30 signatures is required to be on the April 9 ballot.

Anderson's objection alleged that eight people were not registered to the addresses given, four had signatures that didn't match their registration, three were not registered to vote, and that seven had signed the petition of one of the other village president candidates. Denny Davis, Damian Donberger and Jeff Holt are also running for the office.

Some of the signers of Cler's petition apparently made address changes after the petition was filed.

Anderson said the "most blatant error" was Cler's failure to complete the independent candidate petition pages by not including which municipality and county voters who signed the petition were in, which election voters were to attend and the election date.

"All of the other candidates followed the correct procedure," she said.

Cler admitted that he did not fill out the top portion of one of the sheets but said the information needed was all there.

"I'm not perfect; I make mistakes," he said. "Nobody here is perfect, including you (Anderson). I'm not trying to scam anybody out of anything."

Cler said he had taken the word of signers who said they were registered to vote but were not. He said one signer had moved and forgotten to change the address at which she was registered to vote. Another had signed his wife's name for her.

"I didn't know it was that big of a deal," Cler said.

Cler  served one term as village president, from 2005 to 2009.

In addition to Golish, a village trustee, the electoral board is made up of Village President Kent Plackett and Village Clerk Dixie Phillips.

The village electoral board will reconvene at 6 p.m. on Jan. 29 at the village hall, 507 W. Strong St., Tolono.

The board has until Jan. 31 to rule on the matter.

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