Officials from Cook County and Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95 are scrambling to find out how to handle a mistake on the ballot involving two candidates running for two-year terms.
Brian Conroy and Joseph Ivan filed to run for a pair of two-year terms, which landed on the ballot due to the resignations last year of John LaBarbera and Lynn Waterloo, who were elected to four-year terms in 2015.
The trouble is, the ballot doesn’t ask voters to choose two candidates. It asks them to choose just one.
District 95 Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski said the issue came to his attention on March 23 when someone voting early found it odd that the ballot asked for just one choice for the two-year terms.
Kuzniewski has reached out to the school district’s attorney and has been in contact with officials from the county clerk’s office. But as of Friday afternoon there was no word on just how the county was going to handle the matter.
So what went wrong? Well, it appears that both the county and the school district share the blame.
According to Kuzniewski, the school district sent the county a document, which accurately showed four four-year terms and two two-year terms up for election, verifying what the county’s ballot should reflect.
But when the county sent the school district a proof of the ballot, it included incorrect voting instructions for the two-year terms. And the school district didn’t catch the mistake before sending it back to the county as correct.
“Ultimately it’s my responsibility,” Kuzniewski said of the mistake on the district’s part.
It’s unclear whether the county will acknowledge the mistake and certify both candidates as having been elected or just the one who got more votes. If the county certifies just one of the candidates as the winner, the school board would have the opportunity to appoint the lower vote-getter following the election.
Both Conroy and Ivan are incumbents.
“If there’s a silver lining, it’s that there were two positions open and two people running for them,” Kuzniewski said. “It’d be a much bigger disruption if there were four people running.”