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City Council Candidate Objects to Opponent's Eligibility

A municipal electoral board will review City Council candidate Frank Garcia's eligibility to run for City Council after John Prendiville filed an objection relating to his voter registration status.

A municipal electoral board will review one candidate’s objection to the other candidate’s eligibility to run for the At-Large City Council seat in the 2013 municipal election.

John Prendiville said Wednesday his objection is that when his opponent, Frank Garcia, filed his nomination papers, he was not a registered voter in Wheaton and therefore does not qualify to run for office.

Garcia, who filed for candidacy on Dec. 26, said he registered to vote in Wheaton about a week ago.

According to the City of Wheaton, candidates must be registered voters of the City of Wheaton and must live within city limits for at least one year.

Garcia said the candidacy requirements could be interpreted in different ways, as voters in DuPage County must register 28 days before an election. He said he interpreted the rules as requiring a candidate to be a Wheaton resident and a voter registered in the city by the 28-day deadline.

According to candidacy requirements that could be misconstrued, he said, candidates must have lived within the city limits for one year and be a registered voter of Wheaton.

“What does ‘and’ mean? (Does it) mean you must be a resident of Wheaton and registered… or (a) registered voter for one year and be a Wheaton resident?” Garcia asked.

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On the official statement of candidacy, candidates must confirm they live in the city, village or other area of question, zip code and county of Illinois, and are a qualified voter therein.

Garcia said in each election, he takes his parents to vote in Naperville. He said he did not know last November, when he cast his vote with his parents in Naperville, that he would be running for City Council in Wheaton. When he heard Jeanne Ives had stepped down to allow time for an election of her At-Large seat, he decided to run.

“I feel (the) people of Wheaton should have more than one choice,” he said. 

Prendiville also objected to Garcia's residency. He said voting in Naperville would indicate Garcia is a Naperville resident. Garcia said he has lived in Wheaton for five years, and plans to present evidence of his residency at the electoral board meeting.

The electoral board is comprised of Wheaton Mayor Mike Gresk, Councilman Tom Mouhelis and City Clerk Sharon Barrett-Hagen. The board will meet at 8 a.m. Monday, Jan. 14 at Wheaton City Hall.

Gregg Slapak January 09, 2013 at 10:01 PM
I fully support John Prendeville who will win in a "land/slide"!
michelle garcia January 09, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Team Garcia all the way!!!
Mark Stern January 10, 2013 at 02:51 PM
I encourage Mr. Garcia to stay involved and run for office in the future; we need more people who are willing to step up. However, filing a declaration of candidacy is a certification that the candidate meets all qualifications for the office *at the time of filing*. Based on what is reported here, he did not meet them when he filed, so he will be removed from the ballot. For the naysayers, this is not "hardball politics", it's what the law says. Illinois election law is complex and has many provisions that make it tough for challengers; it should be simplified to make ballot access easier (recent "reforms" have increased signature requirements and made it harder). But, whether or not we like the law doesn't mean we can ignore it, and in this case being a registered voter in the jurisdiction when you file for office is a fairly straightforward test.
Charlotte Eriksen (Editor) January 10, 2013 at 09:20 PM
Thanks for commenting, Mark.
Major Tom January 11, 2013 at 01:25 AM
mark move back to wheaton so you can run again!

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