Election board keeps Mokena incumbents on ballot
By Janet Lundquist Sun-Times Media January 13, 2013 10:42PM
Mokena Trustee George Metanias (from left), Trustee John Mazzorana and Mayor Joe Werner during a hearing with the Mokena Municipal Officers Electoral Board at Village Hall Sunday, January 13, 2013. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 15, 2013 6:25AM
Mokena Mayor Joe Werner and three incumbent trustees — John Mazzorana, Joseph Siwinski and George Metanias — will stay on the ballot for the April 9 election despite objections to their nominating petitions.
The village’s court-appointed electoral board, which consists of chairman Dan McGrath, Patrick Carey and Lawrence Gryczewski, decided Werner and Metanias may remain on the ballot after hearing hours of arguments on the objections Sunday at the village hall.
Once those petitions were validated, the attorney for the objector withdrew the challenges to Mazzorana’s and Siwinski’s petitions.
“It’s in the hands of the residents, not technicalities,” Metanias said after the hearing. “That’s how it should be.”
“I’m glad to see that the electoral process works,” Werner said.
Challenging signatures on petitions is not uncommon before local elections, but a ruling against Werner and the incumbents could have left mayoral candidate Frank Fleischer and three trustee candidates unopposed.
Rosemaria Genova — who circulated nominating petitions for Fleischer — filed objections to the petitions of Werner, Mazzorana and Siwinski, claiming they did not have enough valid signatures.
Trustee candidate Anthony Bruozas, who also circulated petitions for Fleischer, objected to Metanias’ petitions, claiming he violated election law in filing them. According to Bruozas’ objection, Metanias filed his petitions with the village clerk and received a receipt, then took his petitions back and resubmitted them 10 minutes later.
The law states that petitions shall not be withdrawn, altered or added to, Bruozas said in his objection.
Metanias’ attorney argued that nothing was altered on Metanias’ petitions, while Bruozas and his
attorney said the issue was that the petitions were withdrawn and resubmitted, which violated the law.
After Bruozas and his attorney presented their case, the board voted to sustain a motion for a directed finding that Metanias’ petition was valid.
The board then analyzed the objectionable signatures on Werner’s petition, trying to determine if they were valid.
“My signature doesn’t look the same every time I sign it, and neither does yours,” McGrath said at one point in the process.
Ultimately, the board found that Werner had enough valid signatures to stay on the ballot.
The board will meet at 6 p.m. Jan. 15 at village hall to approve its final written decision on Werner’s and Metanias’ cases.