MORRIS – After the Morris electoral board’s ruling, there will be no primary race for the Morris city clerk position or for 2nd Ward Alderman for the Republican Party.
On Friday night, the Morris Municipal Officers Electoral Board took the hearing judge’s recommendation and ruled in favor of the objectors for both cases objecting to the petitions of the city offices.
With the ruling, candidate hopefuls Republican Doug Hayse for 2nd Ward alderman and Republican Mary Callahan for city clerk will not be on the Feb. 24 primary ballot.
Both objections were filed for the same reason – improper fastening of petition sheets.
Kristan Smolenski of the 100 block of Briar Lane in Morris filed the objection against former Morris and Minooka police chief Hayse, while David Perry of the 900 block of North Street in Morris filed against Callahan, according to the objectors’ case filings.
“I am satisfied with the ruling. The board obviously took a lot of time and examined the evidence in coming to a conclusion,” Michael Olewinski, attorney for the objectors, said after the hearing.
City Attorney Scott Belt said the candidates could file an appeal.
Both Hayse and Callahan declined Friday to comment on the ruling or whether they would appeal.
The electoral board took more than an hour to study evidence and deliberate after receiving the hearing officer’s recommendation for the Hayse case.
Testimony was given at earlier hearings that Hayse violated the Illinois Election Code when he turned in his petitions without being fastened together. Hayse testified that he did fasten his petitions with a binder clip.
The written decision from the board, upholding the hearing officer’s recommendation, states the officer inspected the nomination papers and found no impressions at the “bind here” portion of the papers that resembled impressions that would be left by a binder clip.
For the Callahan case, the electoral board deliberated for drastically less time, about five minutes, and also upheld the hearing officer’s recommendation.
Testimony was heard previously that Callahan did not fasten her nomination papers and that she did not number her sheets, as required by the election code.
The written decision states Callahan’s failure to number the pages invalidates her nomination papers.
Conflicting testimony was again given from witnesses regarding whether the papers were fastened. Callahan testified she fastened her documents with a vinyl paper clip. City Clerk Carol Adair testified the petitions were not fastened together when the documents were turned in to her.
The hearing officer and board concluded the conflict does not matter because the election code states a paper clip is not a secure fastener. By its nature, a paper clip allows for papers to be pulled apart and therefore cannot protect the papers from tampering as the code mandates, according to the decision.
Following state statute, the electoral board was made up of Mayor Richard Kopczick and the two senior members of the city council, Alderman Ken Sereno and Alderman Duane Wolfe. Clerk Adair should have sat on the board, but stepped off since one of the objections was regarding the office she holds and she was on the witness list for both cases. The hearing officer appointed by the board was Joliet attorney James Harvey.