In a room crowded with administrators and staff from New Lenox School District 122, Kathy Miller, an incumbent for the D122 Board of Education, was kicked off the April ballot Friday due to a notary error. Miller, who was elected in 2009 and was running for a two-year term, said she intends to appeal the decision.
She has five days in which to file her appeal with the Will County Circuit Clerk.
Miller's petition was not the only one to receive an objection. Another objection was filed against New Lenox's Thomas T. Hottinger for similar errors. However, the objection was withdrawn because he had more than enough voter signatures to substantiate his filling. No information on the short-lived objection to Hottinger's petition was made public.
No official information on Hottinger's objector could be confirmed Friday.
(NLSD122 officials on Saturday, Jan. 12, forwarded the objection to Hottinger's petition. Expect further updates form Patch.)
According to the objection against Miller's petition, the notary verified a faulty petition nomination page. The page has two spots to verify the identity of the individual who circulated the petition for voter signatures. Miller's adult son Chris Miller, signed on one line, and Kathy Miller's names was printed on the second. Due to the errors, the page with 12 voter signatures was struck.
Without that page, Miller's petition no longer met the 50 voter signature minimum required by a perspective candidate for the school board. The petition, which was initially filed with 56 voter signatures, is now six signatures short.
By a vote of 2-1, the Electoral Board of NLSD122 declared Miller's petition to be "insufficient."
The three members that sat on the Electoral Board were president Nick DiSandro, secretary Maureen Broderick and vice president Sue Smith. After a 15-minute recess, DiSandro cast the only vote in favor of Miller. Smith and Broderick voted to reject Miller's petition.
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"A little birdie" provided an anonymous tip
The objection to Miller's petition was filed Jan. 3 by Nikki Sanders of New Lenox. What motivated Sanders for the first time ever to review a petition was an anonymous tip? "A little birdie" shared information with her, she said.
Sanders said she performed the task, because "I'm a fan of good government."
Later, she said she had disagreed with the board's actions about tax levies and tax rates. In her job for the Will County Board of Review, where taxpayers file disputes about their property tax, the paperwork has to be in order. It has to be notarized and complete or it's thrown out.
After the decision was rendered, Miller said, "I just don't understand how this came about. I have to believe it's personal or political, but I don't know why. I'm hard-pressed to understand....Everybody makes mistakes."
Broderick said her decision to invalidate the single page of Miller's petition was "not political." While she blamed the error on the notary, she considered the error "egregious" enough to effectively kick Miller off the ballot as a candidate for the Board of Education.
In a statement issued after the hearing, Smith explained her vote. "The electoral board's duty was to take up the question as to whether or not the nomination papers or petitions are in proper form, and whether or not they were filed within the time and under the conditions required by law. With the evidence before me, I concluded that the page in question was not in compliance with the election laws. Kathy Miller had 90 days to circulate her petition. It is unfortunate that she only received 56 signatures, when the minimal amount needed to be on the ballot is 50. She left herself no room for errors."
DiSandro said he was disappointed with the decision. "I think many times when people run there are clerical errors. This is definitely a clerical error. Testimony verified it. Case law verified it."
- D122 Member Kathy Miller Kicked Off April Election Ballot
- Candidate Petition for New Lenox School District Challenged; Hearing Set for Friday
After considering the hearing more closely, Miller described the outcome as politically motivated. She intends to probe more deeply into who exactly showed up at the District Office to examine the documents. There is speculation that Sanders hadn't actually gone to the office. That she was given a copy of the petition and then filed an objection, according to Miller.
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