Marion candidates to stay on April ballot after residency hearin - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Marion candidates to stay on April ballot after residency hearings

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MARION, Ill. -- Two separate electoral boards listened to testimony, examined evidence and decided that two candidates do meet the requirements to run for office.

Voters in Marion can expect to see mayoral candidate Dennis Ball and city commissioner candidate Jason Powell on the April ballot. 

Last week, two residents sent in objection letters claiming they believe the two candidates did not live in the city long enough to run for a position. John Gordon was one of two residents that sent an objection letter to the city against Powell. 

"I didn't believe that he was a resident of Marion fulfilling the one-year requirement," Gordon said. "All I want out for this election is the best possible candidates."

James Meadows agreed with Gordon, sending a second objection letter about Powell to city hall. But Meadows also sent one challenging Ball's residency requirements. 

"I was doing research and I found that he put his address as the post office, not as a P.O. Box, but the actual post office," Meadows said. 

Both Gordon and Meadows spoke at a hearing on Wednesday about the issue. 

Then, the candidates took the stand proving to the board they lived in Marion before April 2, 2018. 

According to the Illinois State Board of Elections, a candidate for mayor or commissioner must reside in his or her municipality one year before the election. 

Attorney and Hearing Officer Rhett Barke says Powell proved his residency, "I think his testimony and documentation that he provided overcame any question if the water was on or off."

Barke says Ball also proved his case, "He provided a lease agreement that he was residing at a location within the city limits beginning in Jan. 1, 2018 and ending July 2019."

The electoral board for Powell was made up of City Commissioner Angelo Hightower, Mayor Anthony Rinella and City Clerk Alice Rix. City Commissioner Jim Webb, John Goss and City Clerk Alice Rix made up the electoral board for Ball's hearing. Electoral board members took about two hours to decide that both men would stay on the ballot. 

With this challenge behind them, Powell and ball can now prepare for their races in the April election. 

"When you have something like this brought up, it may have a negative impact and I hope it doesn't," Powell said. 

"What happened today (Wednesday) as far as I'm concerned, is the facts and the truth that needed to be presented to the public was," Ball said. 

The objection period to file a letter against a candidate ended Dec. 26, this means the current placements for the mayoral candidates will remain. 

A lottery drawing last week gave Ball the number one position on the ballot. 

Next week, the city will hold the drawing to decide where the seven city commissioner candidates will be placed on the ballot.

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