Misspelling won’t keep candidate for McHenry County Board off ballot

Bob Nowak’s opponent, incumbent Eric Hendricks, filed an objection to Nowak’s paperwork

McHenry County board member Eric Hendricks gives case law documents to the McHenry County electoral board during an objection hearing Dec. 19, 2023

McHenry County’s electoral board ruled Tuesday that Bob Nowak can stay on the March primary ballot, overruling his opponent’s objection to his candidacy.

Nowak, of Algonquin, is running for McHenry County Board in the District 3 Republican primary against incumbent Eric Hendricks of Lake in the Hills. Nowak previously held the seat but lost to Hendricks in 2022.

Hendricks filed an objection to Nowak’s candidacy last week, claiming Nowak ran as a “Republian,” omitting the “c” in Republican, and put a zip code in an incorrect field.

In Tuesday’s hearing, Hendricks cited case law to support his argument that Nowak should be booted from the ballot.

“It probably should have been rejected from the offset,” Hendricks said.

Hendricks argued Nowak’s filing was not in compliance with the electoral code due to the typo.

Nowak said he felt like he fell victim to autocheck and said he “simply misspelled Republican.”

“I didn’t proofread it. I should have,” Nowak said.

After the candidates presented their arguments, the board – consisting of circuit clerk representative Robin Shetley, Assistant State’s Attorney Norm Vinton and County Clerk Joe Tirio – discussed the case.

“The law always favors ballot access,” Vinton said during the deliberation.

The board gave a verbal ruling overriding Hendricks’ objections and will meet Friday to hand down a written decision.

Hendricks said he didn’t “think it was the correct decision.” He also said he is exploring options on whether to appeal the ruling.

Nowak said he was “very happy” with the decision.

“It’s hard to think people can live in this world without making mistakes,” Nowak said after the hearing Tuesday.