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St. Charles assessor candidate challenges ineligibility ruling

ST. CHARLES – A man who moved to St. Charles Township last year is fighting to be on the April ballot after an election board ruled him ineligible to run for township assessor due to his length of residency.

"I just want to run for the office," Gary Fritz said.

Although Fritz will be a township resident for at least a year on April 9, Gerald Swanson challenged his eligibility, asserting candidates must be a township resident for a year before they sign their statement of candidacy, according to court records.

Records indicate Fritz lived in Geneva for at least 10 years before moving to St. Charles Township on April 1.

He signed his statement of candidacy Dec. 21 and filed it Dec. 26, according to court documents.

On Jan. 9, the township's electoral board – John Anderson, Jack Brainard and Terry Cross – held a public hearing on the issue and denied Fritz's motion to dismiss the objection. The board entered its decision Jan. 16 with Brainard dissenting, according to court records.

"… Because the candidate had not resided in St. Charles Township for one year at the time he signed his statement of candidacy, he was not eligible to hold the office of township assessor," according to the decision, which noted Illinois State Board of Elections rules and case law.

Fritz said he is in a unique position, as the electoral board members are on the same slate with his would-be opponent, incumbent Colleen Lang.

He asserts he followed the rules "to the letter" and is fighting the decision in court.

Documents filed on his behalf argue the he is eligible to hold office because he will be a township resident for at least a year on election day.

"The electoral board abused its discretion in denying the candidate's motion to dismiss, and it's [sic] application of the law is clearly erroneous, arbitrary and capricious," according to Fritz's petition for judicial review.

The case is due in court Feb. 6.

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