Two St. Elmo aldermen putting up a fight

The two St. Elmo aldermen who were taken off the April ballot recently by a municipal electoral board are appealing that board’s ruling in court.
Jayson Porter and Lloyd Carson filed in Fayette County Circuit Court last Wednesday miscellaneous remedy petitions in which they ask the court to reverse the electoral board’s decision and allow them to be placed on the ballot for this spring’s municipal election.
On Friday, Jan. 7, an electoral board consisting of Mayor Larry Tish (chairman), City Clerk Brenda Taylor and Alderwoman Theresa Riley voted to sustain objections to nominating petitions filed by Porter and Carson.
Lyle Haslett filed an objection to Porter’s petition, and Rita Davis, who is running for the council seat now held by Carson, objected to his petition. Both Haslett and Davis objected on the basis that Porter and Carson did not have the required number of signatures on their petitions.
The members of the electoral board and the two objectors are listed as the respondents in the petition filed by Porter and Carson.
In the petitions they filed in circuit court, Porter and Carson both maintain that they received candidate packets from the city clerk’s office that included erroneous information regarding the number of required signatures.
They state in their petitions that their candidate packets “mistakenly contained information from the 2007 election, rather than the 2009 election.” Based on that, each of them had on their nominating petitions two signatures, which was seven less than the number required, based on the 2009 election figures.
Porter and Carson cite in their petitions case law supporting their claim that a candidate can rely on information provided to him or her by a city or village clerk.
They also contend that the electoral board erred in using other case law that it believe supported its ruling.
Further, Porter and Carson allege that the electoral board erred in failing to grant a petition they filed in which they asked Tish to recuse himself from the board.
They based their petition “on information and belief that the mayor and/or his father was communicating with objectors during pendency of these proceedings.”
J. Marc Kelly, a partner in the Vandalia law firm of Burnside, Johnston, Sheafor and Kelly, filed the miscellaneous remedy petitions in court. Another partner in that firm, Don Sheafor, represented Porter and Carson throughout the electoral board proceedings.
During those proceedings, Sheafor attempted to argue that Tish provided correct election information to other candidates, but not to Porter and Carson, in an attempt to influence to election.
A court date on the miscellaneous remedy petitions has not yet been set.
In addition to seeking remedy through the court system, Porter and Carson may re-enter the April election by becoming certified as write-in candidates.
Porter has served on the council for about 11 years, and during that tenure, he served as the interim mayor after Randy Watson resigned from that post.
He ran for election to the mayoral seat in 2009, and was defeated by Tish.
Carson is completing his first full term on the city council; he won election after being appointed to the council after his son resigned.

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