Monday, December 10, 2018 || By Michael Romain || @maywoodnews
|| Updated: 12/11/18
During a roughly 15-minute hearing on Dec. 10 before Maywood’s three-person Municipal Officers Electoral Board, John Olsen requested to withdraw his objection to the candidacies of Antonette Dorris and Steven R. Smiley, members of the Maywood Visionary Party.
All three members of the local electoral board, which includes Maywood Mayor Edwenna Perkins, Trustee Henderson Yarbrough and Village Clerk Viola Mims, voted in favor of the motion to withdraw.
Dorris and Smiley, who both ran on the ticket last year (Dorris for mayor and Smiley for trustee), filed to run as an established party in November. Olsen had objected the validity of 25 of the party’s 52 signatures that were submitted in their nominating papers.
Candidates from established political parties are required to turn in at least 25 valid signatures.
“Therefore, if every one of the objectors challenges to the candidates’ signatures were upheld that would still leave the candidates with 27 valid signatures,” an election lawyer said during the Dec. 10 hearing.
A local electoral board hearing on Dec. 10, where John Olsen (seated in front row) withdrew his objection to the nominating petitions of Maywood Visionary Party candidates Antonette Dorris and Steven Smiley. | VFP
After that explanation, Olsen requested that his objection be withdrawn before apologizing to the electoral board.
In an interview on Dec. 10, Dorris and Smiley said that Olsen lives in a nearby senior living facility, to which they drove him after the hearing.
The candidates said that Olsen, who did not have a lawyer, appeared confused about the objection process and believe that another candidate in the race was using Olsen to challenge their nominating papers.
When asked who the candidate behind Olsen’s objection might be, they said they were not sure and could not provide any names. The objection just did not seem genuine, they said.
“We look at it from the standpoint of, look, somebody is using a senior,” Doris said. “We had to take him home. Nobody was there on his behalf to protect him and I’m looking at the fact that it cost the village money to even involve the attorney to have this electoral board. [Olsen] just said that he regrets even getting involved.”
“He told somebody in the chamber that he was given a letter,” Smiley said. “I don’t think he had a clear understanding of what this meant. I think someone told him to do this. That’s the hurting part.
“We understand that challenges are part of the process, we understand that, but if they’re used, they should be used in the right way,” Smiley said.
Olsen could not be immediately contacted for comment on Tuesday afternoon.
So far, around nine people, Dorris and Smiley included, have publicly announced their intentions to run for three open seats on the Maywood Board of Trustees during the April 2, 2019 Consolidated Election.
According to Village Clerk Viola Mims, new political parties and independent candidates looking to run in April have from Dec. 10 until Dec. 17 to file nominating petitions. Monday, Dec. 24, is the last day to file objections to those nominating petitions. VFP
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