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Challenged clerk petitioner misses hearing

GENEVA – The Geneva Township Electoral Board voted Wednesday to continue a hearing to 4 p.m. today because the challenged clerk candidate did not attend, and his official notice had the wrong time.

Incumbent township Trustee Robert Kovacs filed an objection to the nominating petitions for Geoffrey M. Carreiro, a candidate for the clerk position in the April 9 consolidated election ballot.

Carreiro’s official notification of the hearing, delivered by a Kane County sheriff’s deputy, listed the hearing time as 10 p.m. Wednesday –  not 10 a.m.

Township Supervisor Patrick Jaeger said the wrong time was a typographical error, and he informed Carreiro by phone of the correct time of the hearing.

But as all gathered at 10 a.m. Wednesday at the township office at 400 Wheeler Drive, Jaeger delayed the hearing 15 minutes waiting for Carreiro, who never showed up.

“I did not come at 10 a.m. because my paperwork said 10 p.m.,” Carreiro said.

Carreiro said he rejected Jaeger’s phone call, logged to his cellphone at 9:02 a.m. Tuesday. He said it was not an acceptable way to be notified of the hearing’s correct time.

“I did not consider that valid,” Carreiro said. “As a business professional, I cannot switch around my schedule in less than 25 hours. I do not feel that is great for me to be doing that to my clients.”

Jaeger said Carreiro will be served a new notice of the hearing, making sure this notice would have the correct time listed. A Kane County sheriff’s deputy delivers notice of the electoral board’s hearing.

When told of the continued hearing at 4 p.m. today, Carreiro would not commit to attending.

“Will I be there?” Carreiro said late Wednesday afternoon. “I have not been served. I am waiting for that.”

The three-member electoral board was made up of Jaeger, clerk Barbara Olson and attorney Timothy O’Neil.

According to Kovacs’ objection filed Jan. 3, 19 signatures are either those of people who are not registered to vote or whose names were printed instead of written as a signature.

Carreiro’s petition required the signatures of 156 registered voters. He collected 162 signatures. If the electoral board upholds the challenge, the number of valid signatures would be reduced to 143, not enough to stay on the ballot.

Township Trustee Dick Sharp would have been part of the electoral board. But because he circulated some of the challenged petitions for Carreiro, it is a conflict of interest, officials said.

Jaeger said as per state statute, Chief Judge Judy Brawka appointed O’Neil to take Sharp’s place.

According to the state’s election schedule, the electoral board must convene a hearing between three and five business days after an objection is filed. Today would be the fifth or final day the electoral board could hear and consider the objection.

Kovacs, who also is seeking re-election as a township trustee, said he does not know Carreiro. Kovacs’ goal is to get Carreiro off the ballot so trustees can interview potential candidates and choose the best one to be clerk.

Carreiro said he understands the objection is part of the process.

“My main involvement is to give back and serve the community,” Carreiro said. “I don’t think it’s great they decided to object, but it’s legal. It is part of the process.”

Carreiro said if he is removed from the ballot, he will run as a write-in candidate.

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