TOLONO — Greg Cler's name will appear on the election ballot this spring as a candidate for village president, despite an objection filed against his nomination papers by a Tolono resident.
The electoral board — made up of village President Kent Plackett, Village Clerk Dixie Phillips and Trustee Mike Golish — voted 3-0 to overrule an objection filed against Cler by Rena M. Anderson, a Champaign County clerk's office employee.
Anderson argued that Cler, an automobile mechanic and business owner who served as the village president from 2005 to 2009, obtained 22 fraudulent signatures and failed to complete the independent candidate petition pages.
Following hearings on Jan. 12 and 24, the board issued findings of fact at a hearing on Tuesday. The board ruled that although Anderson's petition was dated Jan. 7, five days after the objection filing period ended, Phillips had given her an extension because she had been ill.
The board also ruled that even though eight people who signed Cler's petition listed invalid addresses, four had invalid signatures, three were not registered to vote and seven also signed petitions for other village president candidates, the remaining 42 signatures exceeded the minimum requirement of 30.
In addition, the board ruled that although Cler did not include which municipality and county voters who signed the petition were in, which election voters were to attend and the election date on his papers, "the missing information did not affect the legislative intent as witnessed by the fact that all signatures were from village voters and it occurred prior to the next scheduled election in the spring." The board cited the 2008 case of Reynolds v. Champaign County Officers Electoral Board, which stated that a technical violation of the statute is acceptable when it "does not affect the legislative intent to guarantee a fair and honest election."
The election board ruled that Cler's name will be printed on the April 9 ballot.
Other candidates who will be on the ballot are Denny Davis, Damian Donberger and Jeff Holt.
"I'm just glad it worked out that way," Cler said after the hearing. "I still feel I was singled out."
"It's what I expected," Anderson said of the outcome. "I hope this is a learning experience not only for local election officials, but for local candidates. I think over time we'll see how things change and why things change. I'm proud of the way the election board handled themselves in researching their information."