2 La Salle County Board members removed from ballot

Objectors prevail against Myers of Streator, Witczak of Peru

Incumbent La Salle County Board member Joe Witczak (D-Peru), center, is off the ballot. Witczak and fellow incumbent Jerry Myers (R-Streator) were removed Monday after ballot challenges alleging they didn't have enough valid signatures. Witczak said he'll run as a write-in.

Two incumbent members of the La Salle County Board are coming off the ballot, although both have the option of running as write-in candidates.

On Monday, a three-member panel granted objections to petitions filed by Republican Jerry Myers of Streator and Democrat Joe Witczak of Peru.

Witczak said he planned to run as a write-in candidate. He has until April 28 to file to do so.

Myers was not present for Monday’s proceedings. Multiple calls placed to his listed phone number were not answered and he did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

Republican candidate Martin Rue Jr. succeeded in getting Witczak’s name struck from the ballot, but was not successful in getting his primary opponent off the ballot.

Rick O’Sadnick survived Rue’s challenge to his petitions, clearing the way for a Rue-versus-O’Sadnick primary contest. The winner would face Witczak if he follows through on his write-in pledge. As it stands, there will be contested primaries for the Republican nominations of four County Board district seats.

Myers and Witczak were struck after the panel found they didn’t have enough valid signatures.

Morris attorney John Peacock, appearing on behalf of Myers’ primary challenger, Matt Slager, told the panel that eight of Myers’ signatures lived outside the district and were void. The panel emerged from closed-door deliberations and agreed.

Witczak likewise had procured a signature from a woman who turned out not to be a registered voter. With her signature voided, he fell short of the required 17 signatures.

But O’Sadnick persuaded the panel he substantially complied with the rules and will stay on the ballot. Though Rue argued O’Sadnick hadn’t completed required fields showing the county and state in which he was running, the forms themselves bore the words “La Salle County” and “Illinois.”

“There really shouldn’t be any confusion by the voter,” O’Sadnick told the panel, arguing his forms were in “substantial compliance.”

The panel emerged from deliberations and agreed.

“We don’t find any issue of confusion,” said La Salle County State’s Attorney Todd Martin, who presided over the panel with Clerk Lori Bongartz and Circuit Clerk Greg Vaccaro.

The panel also rejected an objection to the petitions filed by Stephanie M. Simpko, who is seeking election to Rutland 3, precinct committee person. Simpko was found to have substantially complied with the law and stays on the ballot.

Simpko said she was pleased with the ruling and acknowledged that she’s found the form “a little confusing.”