Nominating papers challenged for two Janesville School Board candidates

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Nick Crow
Monday, January 12, 2015

JANESVILLE--Nomination papers for two of four candidates for Janesville School Board this spring are being challenged by AFSCME Council 40 staff representative Dennis Hughes.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees represents support staff in the Janesville district.

Hughes filed a claim Friday saying nomination papers for incumbent David DiStefano and newcomer Diane Eyers are invalid and the two should be removed from the April 7 ballot.

Hughes claims DiStefano didn't provide "adequate information" to people who signed his nomination papers because he didn't identify the school district as the jurisdiction where he seeks to be elected. He claims DiStefano added that information to "multiple nomination papers" after signatures were collected.

Both actions should make the papers invalid, Hughes stated in the complaint.

Hughes wrote that Eyers' nomination papers "do not include a printed name of electors and only includes a signature" and therefore should be rejected.

Reid Magney, public information officer for the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, said the third seat would be filled by write-in vote if two of four candidates for three seats are denied ballot access.

Magney said the accountability board has no opinion on this case at this time because the local clerk's decision could be appealed to the board.

Hughes said it is standard practice to examine signatures on nomination papers.

Hughes also raised questions about Superintendent Karen Schulte's role in the election and assistant board clerk Debra Blazer's role as filing officer.

In an email to board members Sunday, Hughes alleges that Schulte "is acting if she has absolute control over the election process."

The district issued a statement Monday afternoon responding to the challenges.

It said each candidate has three calendar days to file a response.

Schulte said board member Karl Dommershausen is by statute the district's filing officer, but the duties have been typically and historically delegated to Blazer as assistant board clerk.

In response to the challenge, the candidates' nomination papers will be reviewed, according to the district's statement. An elector, a committee or a group is entitled to file a challenge to a candidate's nomination papers.

While Hughes said he expected a decision on the nominating papers Monday afternoon, Schulte said a decision could be expected Tuesday afternoon.

Because the documents were submitted at the end of the day Friday, the candidates have three full days to respond, Schulte said.

Both candidates were contacted by phone Monday, but neither responded with comment by press time.

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