On Dec. 17, Nicholas Korzeniowski filed nomination papers to place himself on the ballot as a candidate for the District 65 School Board in the April 2 election. He filed eight Petition for Nomination sheets that contained a total of 60 signatures asking that he be placed on the ballot; 50 signatures are required.
On Dec. 24, Suni Kartha, President of the District 65 School Board, filed objections to Mr. Korzenioswki’s nomination papers and asked that his name not appear as a candidate for the District 65 School Board on the April 2 ballot.
At a hearing on Jan. 9, Hearing Officer Christopher Cohen made a ruling in which he recommends that Mr. Korzeniowski’s name not be on the ballot.
In light of the ruling, only three names will appear on the ballot in the April 2 election, which is being held to fill three positions on the District 65 School Board: Anya Tanyavutti, Sergio Hernandez and Rebeca Mendoza. All three are currently members of the School Board. Ms. Tanyavutti is currently Vice President of the Board.
Ms. Kartha was not at the hearing on Jan. 9, but her attorney, Scott Erdman, was present to represent her.
Ms. Kartha’s Objections
Ms. Kartha’s objections do not say that she is President of the District 65 School Board, but say that her “interest in filing this Petition is that of a voter desirous that the laws governing the filing of nomination papers for the office of Board of Education member, Evanston/Skokie School District 65, are complied with, and that only qualified candidates appear on the ballot for said office.”
The first point raised by Ms. Kartha’s objections is that Section 10-4 of the Election Code says that the Petition for Nomination sheets that are filed must be fastened together “and the sheets shall then be numbered consecutively.” The objections state that Mr. Korzeniowski submitted eight Petition for Nomination sheets “and only two of them are numbered. Those sheets are numbered ‘2’ and ‘1’ which are not consecutive numbers.”
The objections say that the requirement is “mandatory,” citing case law, and say, “Each petition sheet that is not numbered should be stricken from the candidate’s nominating petition. Each numbered petition that is not consecutively numbered should be stricken from the nominating petition.”
The second point raised by Ms. Kartha’s objections states as follows in paragraph 7:
“7. Section 10-4 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/10-4) provides in part that petitions for nomination shall be signed and sworn to by the circulator before a notary. None of the four (4) sheets circulated by the candidate were properly notarized. The circulator’s affidavit at the bottom of each sheet is defective because it lacks the State and County where the swearing took place, the circulator’s name, street address, city, Zip Code, county or state. The only indication as to the identity of the circulator comes from portion completed by the notary wherein the candidate’s name has been written in. Further, the notary, Suzanne S. Batch indicates that the sheet was ‘Signed and sworn to (or affirmed by Nicholas Korzeniowski before me, on 12/13/18. The notarization of Suzanne S. Batch fails because there is no signature on the petition’s jurat. Each of the sheets where the circulator is identified by the notary as Nicholas Korxeniowski [sic] are invalid and should be stricken.”
The objections state that if the nominating petitions are stricken, Mr. Korzeniowski lacks the requisite signatures, and his name should not appear on the ballot.
In response to questions by the Hearing Officer, Mr. Korzeniowski said he was present before the notary when she notarized the four sheets that he circulated, but acknowledged that he did not sign them.
The Hearing Officer’s Ruling
In issuing his ruling, Hearing Officer Cohen quoted Section 10-4 of the Election Code which states in part that petition sheets shall be fastened securely and “then numbered consecutively.” The statute also provides that the person circulating petition sheets shall sign the sheets certifying that the signatures on the sheets were signed in his presence, and as well as additional things, and that the circulator’s statement “shall be sworn to before some officer authorized to administer oaths.”
Mr. Cohen found that six of the eight petition sheets filed by Mr. Korzeniowski were not numbered or numbered consecutively and he concluded that those petition sheets should be stricken and that all the signatures on those sheets should be stricken and deemed invalid.
Mr. Cohen also found that the four petition sheets circulated by Mr. Korzeniowski were not signed by him, and that those sheets and all the signatures on those sheets should be stricken and deemed invalid.
He did not strike the two petition sheets that were numbered 2 and 1, but found there were only 20 signatures on those two sheets which was less than the 50 required.
Mr. Cohen said he would recommend that Electoral Board find that the nomination papers filed by Mr. Korzeniowski are invalid and that his name not appear on the ballot in the April 2 election.