It’s been so long since Brookfield voters had more than two options to choose from when selecting members of the village board that it’s tough to remember just when it last happened.

The last time there was a challenge to any sort of petition was nearly 10 years ago, and it wasn’t a challenge to a candidate, it was a challenge to a petition regarding a bond issue.

We’re guessing Brookfield voters are looking forward to an election that includes choices between the village’s two major parties and independent candidates – if only for the novelty of choosing someone with a last name that might not be familiar to them.

But independents have a way of mucking up the status quo, and this time it looks like the PEP Party, which has been solidly in power since 2005 after a four-year hiatus, is feeling the heat.

A supporter of the party has filed challenges against the three independents in the race. The objections are pretty standard – not enough signatures, invalid signatures, problems with filling out the forms, the forms themselves and irregular notarization of the forms.

To casual followers of the electoral process, these can seem like piddling things. Oh, come on, a printed name instead of a signature? Placing “trustee” instead of “village trustee” on the form?

Like most Brookfield voters, we are all in favor of choices. But when it comes to getting on the ballot, it’s important to make sure everything is in order and that the petitions are filled out correctly – meticulously.

On Friday afternoon, all three candidates will have a chance to make their cases before an electoral board in Brookfield (that these boards are typically made up of people who might have a vested interest in the outcome of a challenge is another topic). We have no idea what the outcome will be, nor will we venture a guess. Anyone tossed off the ballot by the local electoral board can appeal the ruling to the Cook County Clerk, who will hold another hearing. No candidate will get short shrift if he or she is dedicated to the process.

Running for office shouldn’t be a casual fling, and the care taken in collecting signatures for nominating petitions is an indicator of the kind of elected official someone might turn out to be.

In many cases, it shows just how unfamiliar most people are with the process. That inexperience will certainly reveal itself after the election. Of course, those who lack experience can always learn from participating in the process and that can only be a good thing.

Perhaps the most important step is making the first leap into the arena. As these candidates are finding out quickly, you don’t get roses from those who you seek to defeat in an election. They fight you with all the tools available to them.

It highlights how serious this business of public service is and how seriously political parties take anyone trespassing on their turf.

Welcome to Brookfield politics, guys.