A resident on Dec. 11 withdrew her challenge  to Seventh Ward Alderman Eleanor Revelle’s filing to seek another term of office, citing the City Electoral Board’s ruling the previous day as influencing her decision. This cleared the way for Ald. Revelle to remain on the April ballot yet spurred discussion about the political nature of the objection process. 

In withdrawing her challenge, Yvi Russell said she had noted that on Dec. 10 the Board found against objectors’ challenges about improper binding of petitions, her attorney Andrew Finko told the Board in the hearing aired over Zoom.

The three members of the Electoral Board – Mayor Stephen Hagerty, City Clerk Devon Reid and Eighth Ward Alderman Ann Rainey – had found mitigating circumstances in the cases of aldermanic candidates Eric Young and Rebeca Mendoza after both related they had received no definitive answer from the Clerk’s office on whether the papers they were filing were acceptable.

Ms. Russell charged in her objection that Ald. Revelle did not comply with Election Code, alleging that her nomination papers were “not submitted in one neatly fastened and bound submission … but rather there were two separate submissions, contrary to Illinois law.”

Ms. Russell’s objection was “based upon the stapling issue with Alderman Revelle’s paperwork,” Mr. Finko told the Board, “and then based on the objections that were presented yesterday and the rulings on this Board to promote ballot access, the objector in this case would request that the same ballot access be afforded,” he said.

“We will withdraw the objection to Alderman Revelle,” he continued, “and will leave the question as to what happened to the oral history of Evanston as told by political followers, and we’ll see what happens down the road.”

In response, Michael Kreloff, attorney for Ms. Revelle, took issue with Mr. Finko’s comments, as “an attempt to politicize the process,” and said it was misleading about her filing.

Ald. Revelle faces Mary Rosinski in the April election.

Mr. Kreloff told the Board. “We have taken the position in all of our memoranda that what Ms. Revelle did was entirely proper – admittedly not the way these petitions are often filed where everything is attached together – but she did file adequately under the law,” he said.

In accepting the withdrawal, Electoral Board members debated whether they should include Mr. Kreloff and Ald. Revelle’s disagreement with the basis of the withdrawal.

Kelley Gandurski, the City’s Corporation Counsel, advising the Board, said the Board through its action “is accepting the withdrawal of the entire case. “The order does not have to reflect the allegations that are set forth in the motion to withdraw,” she said.

The Board’s vote to accept the withdrawal brought to a close an intense two days in which Board members ruled on election challenges in five races.

Bob Seidenberg is an award-winning reporter covering issues in Evanston for more than 30 years. He is a graduate of the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism.