What was the biggest surprise of the last week? It was that no candidates running for municipal office in either North Riverside or Brookfield had their nominating petitions challenged.

In both villages there were last-minute filings. In North Riverside it was a former ally of one of the candidates filing papers to be an apparent spoiler. In Brookfield, it was an entire slate of candidates challenging the PEP Party, which otherwise would have gone uncontested next April.

The only challenges are coming in a pair of Lyons Township school board races. The current board majority in District 103 is looking to ensure that it holds onto power by challenging one of the members of a slate that could prove troublesome if they head into April intact. But the race in District 103 would remain competitive at any rate.

In Lyons Township High School District 204, a successful challenge to the one non-incumbent would make that race uncontested.

Competitive races are good for voters, because no matter who is running, it forces slates and candidates to publicly make their cases and outline their priorities. Candidates who refuse to disclose important positions or give the old “trust me” approach with no prior work to point to or evidence to back up their claims rightly ought to be looked on with extreme caution.

But it’s a way for voters to keep even the most firmly entrenched powers on their toes by asking for proof of their claimed successes and making sure their priorities are in line with what the community wants and needs.