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Fulton, Montgomery county officials weigh challenges to petitions

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
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— Town supervisors in both Fulton and Montgomery counties have filed candidacy petition challenges against their opponents, and election officials have already ruled on the Montgomery County challenge.

Palatine Supervisor Brian Sweet filed a petition challenge July 14 against fellow Republican Charles Dillenbeck, at least partly on the grounds that Dillenbeck does not reside in the town of Palatine.

“He doesn’t live in my town, nor has he ever lived in my town,” Sweet said of Dillenbeck, whose address is listed in the phone book as the town of Mohawk.

Election Commissioner Jamie M. Duchessi said Tuesday that the commissioners have filed their decision but will not disclose it until the candidates are notified.

He said letters were mailed out Tuesday to Dillenbeck and Sweet.

Sweet said Tuesday he was notified by election officials that Dillenbeck’s petition has been voided. Dillenbeck could not be reached for comment.

Dillenbeck and Sweet were each required to file 37 signatures of voters in the town. Dillenbeck submitted 43, and Sweet filed 56.

In Fulton County, Johnstown Supervisor G. Michael Kinowski, R-2nd Ward, challenged the petitions of fellow Republican David Thum.

The deadline for challenging was 4 p.m. Monday, but challenges mailed and postmarked Monday are valid even if received after the deadline.

Fulton County election officials said they received Kinowski’s challenge Tuesday by mail and it was postmarked by the deadline.

Kinowski could not be reached for comment. Officials aware of the challenge said Thum may have left a column blank on the second page of his petition. The column identifies the municipality where the board seat is located — in this case, the city of Johnstown.

Thum was required to collect at least 32 signatures from voters in the 2nd Ward and submitted 35. An official said 15 of those signatures are on the second page of the petition where the city column is blank.

Election officials declined comment Tuesday when asked about possible flaws in Thum’s petition.

Kinowski has six days in which to submit specific objections to Thum’s petition. Kinowski could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but Thum said he understands it is his opponent’s right to challenge.

Thum said while election law regarding petition filings can be complicated, he is not aware of any errors that would warrant disqualification. But if Kinowski is successful in the challenge, Thum said, he will file for an independent party candidacy when that filing period is conducted in August.

“Whatever happens, I’m not going away,” he said.

 
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