Electoral Board’s decision appealed
By Hank Beckman For The Sun February 4, 2013 6:30PM
Naperville Mayor George Pradel, listens to Councilman Douglas Krause, respond to objections about his standing on The Naperville Electoral Board on Friday, January 18, 2013, at the Municipal Center in Naperville IL. | Terence Guider-Shaw~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 7, 2013 6:28AM
Paul Sjordal is not about to let it go.
His objection to the Yes, at Large petition for a binding referendum keeping Naperville City Council elections an at-large affair was overruled by the Naperville Electoral Board last week, but his lawyer filed an appeal Monday.
The petition filed in DuPage County Circuit Court called the Electoral Board’s decision, “contrary to law, erroneous, arbitrary, capricious,” and listed several objections to the referendum question, among them:
The question was written in such a manner to qualify for both a binding and non-binding referendum, which attorney Doug Ibendahl has argued is similar to filing for two elected offices at the same time, noting that there are different requirements for each question.
Second, Ibendahl argues that the question violates Illinois law because it is not self-executing or self-contained, because it violated a second binding question from the 2010 election, one which called for term limits on council members.
Also, the objector has consistently argued that the question was unreasonably vague and nonspecific.
“I feel very good about our appeal,” Ibendahl said late Monday afternoon. “The petitioner (Sjordal) feels that the Electoral Board made multiple fatal errors.”
Yes, at Large’s attorney, Kevin McQuillan, has consistently argued for the legality of the petition question.
After the Electoral Board’s decision upholding the petition, McQuillan said that his client’s question was a “mirror image” of the original 2010 referendum.
He also stressed that the question didn’t have to contain the exact same language as the previous question as long as it presents a “fair portrayal of a statute in plain language.”
Contacted Tuesday, McQuillan said he saw no reason to lose confidence in his client’s case.
“I looked at it (the appeal) and didn’t see anything in there that would change anybody’s mind,” he said.
City Attorney Margo Ely responded to an email question by saying that Ibendahl’s appeal was not a surprise.
“However, it is important to note that the only issues up for appeal are legal issues, as the objector willingly chose to withdraw the majority of his objections,” read her response.
Ely was referring to the original challenge of Yes, at Large’s petition signatures, which Ibendahl withdrew.
Electoral Board Member Doug Krause said the board did its job fairly.
Mayor A. George Pradel, also a member of the Electoral Board, also denied any bias in the group’s work.
“I think the board did the right thing and it will be upheld,” he said. “We acted fairly and we need to move on.”