The City of Wheaton today will file a lawsuit against the DuPage County Election Commission and former At-Large City Council candidate Frank Garcia, asking that Garcia be deemed ineligible to run for Council as a write-in candidate after the city's decision to remove him from the spring election ballot.
Wheaton's municipal electoral board ruled last month that Garcia was ineligible to run for City Council because he was not a registered voter in the city of Wheaton when he filed Dec. 26 and therefore not considered a Wheaton resident. The decision came after candidate John Prendiville filed an objection against Garcia because of his voter registration status and residency.
Following the city's decision, Garcia filed with the DuPage County Election Commission to run as a write-in candidate for the seat.
According to the City of Wheaton, candidates must be registered voters in the City of Wheaton and have lived within city limits for at least one year. Garcia, who filed for candidacy with the City of Wheaton on Dec. 26, said he registered to vote in Wheaton in early January. Until then, he was a registered voter in Naperville.
The suit includes one count each of declaratory judgment and injunctive relief against Garcia and the Commission, asking for the court to declare Garcia ineligible to run, stop the election commission from allowing him as a candidate and direct them to ignore votes in his favor because they would be "invalid," city attorney Ken Florey said Tuesday.
Even if Garcia were elected as a write-in candidate, Florey said, he couldn’t be sworn in, couldn’t vote and couldn’t serve residents because of the city's ruling that he was not a valid candidate.
“Instead of appealing (the city's decision), he filed as a write-in, and you can only be a write-in if you are a qualified candidate,” he said. “… If he disagreed (with the decision), he should have filed an appeal and let the court decide but he didn’t. … That’s a binding decision.
The City Council voted 7-0 Monday to file the suit after attorneys approached officials about Garcia’s eligibility, said Wheaton Mayor Mike Gresk.
Garcia said last month 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.
Thor Saline, an unopposed candidate for City Council in the East District, is serving as the interim At-Large councilman until after the election. The seat became vacant when Jeanne Ives resigned to take her post as state representative in the 42nd District. Former councilman and mayoral candidate John Prendiville is the only candidate for the seat.
Saline, John Rutledge (Incumbent, South District) and Todd Scalzo (Incumbent, West District) are running unopposed for their seats. In the for the seat including Alberta Adamson, J.T. Del Alcazar, Ted Rodgers and incumbent Phil Suess.
The consolidated election will be April 9.
- East District Candidate Appointed Interim Councilman
- City Council Candidate Removed From Ballot
- City Council Candidate Objects to Opponent's Eligibility