An Independent candidate looking to get on the ballot in the Madison County Board District 2 race faces objections that may keep him off the ballot.
Tyler Oberkfell submitted a petition with 273 signatures to run against Donald Moore, a Republican who beat County Board incumbent Roger Alons in the primary this spring. At a minimum, Oberkfell needed 232 signatures to appear on the ballot.
Moore raised objections to the signatures after looking over the petition and finding 55 names that he claims could be invalid because the individual either wasn’t registered to vote or resides outside the district. He and his attorney also raised questions about signatures that don’t match voter registration cards. Anyone who signs a petition to place a candidate on the ballot must be a registered voter in the relevant district.
The County Clerk’s office did a full check of the binder of signatures Oberkfell collected, comparing names and addresses to voter registration. A preliminary count from the clerk’s office found 16 signatures by people registered outside the district and 27 signatures by unregistered people, which put the official number of potentially invalid signatures at 43. Oberkfell can afford to lose 41 signatures and still appear on the ballot.
The issue is now before the County Electoral Board.
Moore said he went to the clerk’s office initially to see if anyone had filed to run against him. At the time, he didn’t know he had an opponent. He asked for a copy of the petition to examine on his own. He noticed what he called “a number of anomalies.”
“I talked to some people who said this may warrant an objection,” he said. “I’ve been working this through the primary against the incumbent. I’ve been working long and hard on this. I kind of wonder where he came from here at the last minute. I suspect that he’s been recruited by the Democrats to see if they can usurp me from winning in November.”
Though Alons was a Republican, he frustrated fellow conservatives on the board by acting more like a Democrat, Moore said. That’s why he opposed the incumbent in the spring and that’s why he took his concerns about the petition to county officials.
“I’m looking at him as (having) a Democratic bent, so I’m going to oppose him,” he said. “If I can keep his name off the ballot, why give the Democrats a chance to put another person there? I know he's unhappy. He thinks I'm being dishonest, and I'm not."
Moore and Oberkfell met with the members of the electoral board last week. County Clerk Debra Ming-Mendoza chairs the board. Circuit Clerk Mark Von Nida and State’s Attorney Tom Gibbons also sit on the board, which is advised by assistant state’s attorney John McGuire.
“The board hasn’t made a decision,” Ming-Mendoza said last week. “We’re just now in the process of putting together where we are.”
She said they’re waiting for legal guidance to address objections raised by both candidates, including whether the board’s review should be based on her office’s binder check.
She said Oberkfell objected to relying on the binder check because the preliminary findings went beyond Moore’s initial complaint.
“We’re in a holding pattern right now,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll conclude on Friday.”