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Candidates for MCC board also seeking other positions, raising legal questions

Published: Friday, March 15, 2013 1:18 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, March 15, 2013 11:15 p.m. CDT

WOODSTOCK – Just three weeks before election, two candidates in a hotly contested race could be kicked off the ballot.

Chris Jenner and Erik Sivertsen are two in a field of nine hopefuls seeking a seat on the McHenry County College board. Both men also are running for their local elementary school boards.

Questions arose about whether the men can seek both positions simultaneously.

A 1996 informal opinion from the Illinois Attorney General's Office said school board and community college election positions are "incompatible," therefore election law prohibits McHenry County Clerk Katherine Schultz from printing their names on the ballots

"I don't know why this couldn't have been addressed months ago, weeks ago," Jenner said.

It's still unclear whether the men can run as write-in candidates.

Schultz is seeking legal direction in McHenry County Court documents filed Wednesday. A ruling is expected Monday.

"I've never run into the situation," Schultz said. "I want the courts behind me no matter what."

Jenner on Monday withdrew his re-election bid for the Cary District 26 school board, but Schultz said there still are questions about whether it's too late for him to withdraw.

He called the court filing a "distraction" to his campaign.

"I believe the complaint is without merit," Jenner said. "It only draws attention away from the important issue of the MCC board seeking to violate taxpayers' rights by selling bonds without a referendum."

Sivertsen is still running in McHenry District 15 and doesn't believe there is a problem with his filing.

"The offices are not incompatible, when state law specifically permits holding both offices simultaneously, and there is no legal basis for them to remove either of us from the ballot," he said in an email to the Northwest Herald.

State law says that if a school board member is elected or appointed to a community college board, he or she can serve the remainder of their term, but once that school board term expires, cannot hold both offices.

Schultz is hoping to get clarification by Monday so the ballots can be printed before the April 9 election.

Grace period voting started Wednesday, so the few who have come in to cast a vote were asked to come back another time, or offered to be mailed a ballot. Early voting, which starts March 25, is done on touch screens, Schultz said.

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