Former DeKalb District 428 school board member vying for a new term in 2023 faces ballot objection

An electoral hearing board meeting set for Thursday will begin to review whether Howard Solomon can remain on the April 4 consolidated election ballot as a DeKalb District 428 school board candidate.

Howard Solomon, DeKalb District 428 school board member, asks about inclusion of different religions Wednesday during the NIU Diversity Dialogues: The First Amendment, free speech and lawful assembly in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium at NIU.

DeKALB – A former DeKalb School District 428 board member, who is vying for a return, is facing the prospect of having his name stricken from the ballot of voters in the April 4 consolidated election.

Howard Solomon, first elected in 2015, told the Daily Chronicle he is looking to regain his seat on the school board several years after a health concern prompted him to put his plans on pause. He last served out a term that ended in 2019.

On Dec. 29, however, Solomon learned that DeKalb resident Mark Charvat – who’s also filed objections to DeKalb City Council’s 5th Ward alderman Scott McAdams’ reelection bid – objected to his nomination documents, after pulling receipts for various candidates vying for elected office in the area.

In his objection, Charvat alleged Solomon failed to fill in blanks indicating the name of the DeKalb County school district, thereby invalidating the signatures on the petitions. The omission of the information on the nomination petitions make it difficult for the signer to discern the specific school district in DeKalb County the candidate is seeking to be elected to, the objection states.

An electoral hearing board is set to hear the objection at 10 a.m. Thursday at the DeKalb County Courthouse.

The hearing is anticipated to be presided over by DeKalb County Clerk Tasha Sims, Circuit Court Clerk Lori Grubbs and State’s Attorney Rick Amato.

A voter casts his ballot on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, at the polling place in Westminster Presbyterian Church in DeKalb.

Solomon intends to send a representative to electoral hearing board meeting as he has a scheduling conflict.

Charvat also alleges that the nomination petitions contain the signatures of residents not eligible to vote in the DeKalb District 428 school board election. The striking of 21 invalid signatures would leave the candidate with 36, which is an insufficient number required to remain on the ballot, the objection states. In this case, the minimum requirement is 50.

Solomon said he doesn’t take issue with Charvat for filing the objection.

“I have met and spoken to Mark Charvat on several occasions and we generally get along,” Solomon said. “We don’t have any animosity between the two of us, so I know that it’s not personal. My thought with it was I went over the paperwork on it was that he was being very, very thorough.”

Still, Solomon said he was surprised to receive notice that his nomination petitions received an objection. He said he hopes objectors are working with current materials when they submit petitions.

“I reached the conclusion the conclusion that Mark probably was working from an old list,” Solomon said. “If he had a voter registration list that failed to keep up with the changes in where people are living, that he’s likely to disenfranchise people and that bothers me. I’d like to have people as involved in the political process as they can be.”

Solomon said that if the objection to his petitions is sustained, it’s no one’s fault but his own.

“In my particular instance, [I] was waiting to hear the results of some medical results I was taking in October,” Solomon said. “I did not get involved in getting around to doing my petitions and getting signatures until middle of November and last day to file is November 19. So, I was running hurried and probably should have been much more careful about filling in stuff that was at the top of the pages.”

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