Appellate court puts Glendale Heights candidate back on ballot

 
 
Updated 3/9/2021 5:28 PM

Glendale Heights voters will have a choice of four people to be the next village president after all.

The Illinois 2nd District Appellate Court ruled Monday that Chodri Khokhar should be put back on the April 6 ballot.

 

In January, the village's electoral board considered a resident's challenge to the election petitions Khokhar submitted. The challenger, Matthew Corbin, argued Khokhar did not have enough signatures because, Corbin contended, some of the signatures were invalid. The board disagreed, saying the DuPage County clerk's office had reviewed the signatures in question and determined enough of them were valid, and that Corbin had not presented evidence showing the clerk's office was incorrect.

Corbin appealed the board's decision to the DuPage County Circuit Court. After reviewing the disputed signatures, Judge Craig Belford agreed with Corbin and ruled Khokhar could not be on the ballot.

Khokhar, representing himself, appealed the decision.

The appellate court did not rule on whether the signatures were valid. Instead, it agreed that the electoral board had the right to set its own rules for hearings and that it had followed those rules when it denied Corbin's challenge.

Furthermore, it noted that two other candidates for president -- incumbent Linda Jackson and Ed Pope -- had been allowed by DuPage County Judge Bonnie Wheaton to stay on the ballot, even though they collected far fewer signatures than necessary. In those cases, Wheaton ruled that even though the Glendale Heights village clerk gave incorrect information about the number of signatures required to the candidates, Jackson and Pope were entitled to rely on what the clerk said. The appellate court affirmed that decision Monday.

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"Khokhar's signature submissions here established a minimal appeal to voters more closely than either candidate in the related appeals and, thus, keeping his name off the ballot, while leaving them on, would penalize not only him, but also Glendale Heights voters," the appellate judges wrote in Khokhar's case.

Candidates must collect a certain number to show people are interested in having them in office.

The fourth candidate in the village president race is Michael Ontiveroz.

Patrick Bond, the attorney for the county clerk, said the clerk has sent revised ballots to Glendale Heights residents who applied to vote by mail. If people have already voted and submitted their ballots, the clerk will notify them and offer to let them vote the revised ballot.

Early in-person paper-ballot voting started Feb. 25 at the DuPage County Fairgrounds, but no Glendale Heights voters have voted there yet, Bond said.

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