Former DeKalb District 428 school board member seeking new term knocked from April election ballot

Howard Solomon says he still plans to run as write-in candidate for DeKalb school board seat

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 – Former DeKalb District 428 school board member Howard Solomon was knocked from the April 4 ballot this week when the DeKalb County Electoral Board ruled on objections filed against his attempt for a new term.

The Electoral Board hearing convened this week at the DeKalb County Courthouse and included DeKalb County Clerk Tasha Sims, Assistant State’s Attorney David Berault and Supervisor Deputy Clerk for Circuit Clerk Colleen McConnaughay.

The objections to Solomon’s filing were filed by DeKalb resident Mark Charvat. The objection alleged Solomon didn’t properly specify his petition was for District 428, included invalid signatures of people who don’t live in the district’s voting boundaries, and didn’t include proper district designations for signatures.

Solomon said that while he’s disappointed in the electoral board’s decision, he plans to remain a write-in candidate for the school board.

“I have to choose a different path, one within the law,” Solomon said. “That different path is to begin to work as a write-in candidate and to seek the general agreement and even the endorsement of key groups that may send many people to the polls in order to be written in enough times to actually make it over the threshold of candidacy that I am currently denied because of my having only got 48 signatures.”

In its decision, the board ruled that Solomon’s nomination documents failed to identify the name of the specific DeKalb County school district he was vying for, rendering nine of 57 submitted signatures for his candidate petition invalid. Illinois law requires municipal candidates to receive 50 valid signatures for ballot consideration.

After the board’s ruling, Solomon’s candidate papers did not hold enough signatures to meet the requirements to remain on the ballot.

Solomon said he views the uphill climb of being a write-in candidate as an opportunity.

“It does take a lot of work,” Solomon said. “It also takes a lot of work to be a board member. I think by demonstrating that I am electable as a board member as a write-in, I am also demonstrating that I am willing to do deal with the need for a lot of work should it arise.”

It remains up in the air whether Solomon will appeal the electoral board’s decision. He was represented by Anna Wilhelmi, an attorney also serving as chair of the DeKalb County Democratic Party.

“On the advice of the person who was my attorney at the hearing, I would reconsider anything that appears to be a solid decision,” Solomon said. “I was represented very well. If she has the opportunity to see something that would allow me to make it to the ballot, I will cooperate with her decisions. But I’m not going to specifically introduce it myself unless I have heard from my attorney that I have a good opportunity to get this overturned.”

Solomon said he believes he would have a lot to offer if elected to serve. He previously served a term that ended in 2019.

There are four seats available in the race for DeKalb District 428 school board. Those vying for seats are incumbent and board president Samantha McDavid, Christopher Boyes, Steven Byers and Vanta Bynum.

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