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Ruling in St. Elmo candidacy case coming Friday

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

A municipal electoral board in St. Elmo will rule Friday on whether two candidates for alderman seats will be allowed to stay on the April ballot.

Larry Tish, St. Elmo's mayor and the chairman of the electoral board, made that announcement at the conclusion of a hearing on Wednesday evening that lasted about an hour.

At issue are objections filed to nominating petitions filed by incumbent Aldermen Lloyd Carson and Jayson Porter.

Carson's opponent in April, Rita Davis, has objected to his petition, and Lyle Haslett is challenging Porter's petition. Both objections allege that the candidates failed to include enough signatures to legally be placed on the ballot.

Carson and Porter are being represented by Vandalia attorney Don Sheafor.

Effingham attorney Chad Choinicki appeared on behalf of the objectors at Wednesday's hearing. Davis said at a hearing last Friday that she had not "consulted with" but had not hired an attorney.

Wednesday's hearing began with Tish making a motion to deny Sheafor's motion asking the mayor to recuse himself. The vote on the motion was 2-1, with Tish and City Clerk Brenda Taylor voting in favor of it and Alderwoman Theresa Riley dissenting.

Sheafor attempted at Wednesday's hearing that Tish was attempting to influence the April election, giving correct nominating petition to some candidates, but not to others.

Sheafor's attempts were repeatedly objected to by either Choinicki, Tish or Taylor.

Choinicki contends that the sole duty of the electoral board is to determine whether the petitions filed by Carson and Porter are valid.

As objections to questions asked of Porter were voiced, Porter became visibly upset with the process, at one point saying to Tish, "This is a clown court anyway."

Tish at one point said, "Can you control your client, Mr. Sheafor."

The results of the electoral board hearing will be posted Friday evening on this website.