On Jan. 9, the City’s Local Election Board, comprised of Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl, Alderman Ann Rainey (8th Ward), and City Clerk Rodney Greene, began hearings on Jeff Smith’s objections to the nominating papers of four candidates for Mayor: Gary Gaspard, Steve Hagerty, Ald. Brian Miller (8th Ward), and Ald. Mark Tendam (6th Ward). Mr. Smith filed nominating petitions to run for Mayor on Dec. 19.

The guts of Mr. Smith’s objections is that each of the four candidates filed their nominating petitions in the Nov.21-28 time period, rather than the Dec. 12-19 period. Mr. Smith alleges that the candidates filed in the wrong period and that their nominating petitions were flawed in several other respects.

Mr. Smith also argued that 1992 Referendum passed by the people of Evanston is  invalid. The Referendum requires that a primary be held if more than two candidates have filed petitions to run for Mayor, and that top two vote-getters move on to the regular election. If one candidate receives more than 50% of the vote in the primary, then that candidate is deemed the winner.

The four other mayoral candidates argued that the proper filing period was Nov. 21-28 under State law, and under the 1992 Referendum. They also argued that Mr. Smith filed his objections late, that the issues were already decided by the Electoral Board in a previous matter, and that, in equity, their nominating petitions should stand in light of postings on the Clerk’s webpage that Nov. 21-28 was a time period in which their nominating petitions could be filed.

After hearing arguments on the issues for two- and one-half hours on Jan. 9, the Local Election Board continued the matter to Jan. 11 for ruling.

Larry Gavin was a co-founder of the Evanston RoundTable in 1998 and assisted in its conversion to a non-profit in 2021. He has received many journalism awards for his articles on education, housing and...