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Speed Bump For Challenge To Mell

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Nov 27, 2009 5:30PM

Photo via Laicona's campaign site
In the Chicago Reader's profile of Joe Laiacona, running for the State House in the 40th District against Blago's sister-in-law Deb Mell, Hunter Clauss mentioned Laiacona's petition challenge to Mell's candidacy, centered on a conflict of Mell's address. But thanks to a ruling earlier this week, the Reader follows-up, it looks like Mell is in the clear.

First, from Clauss' original story last week: mid-October, Laiacona says, he was out gathering signatures when met a man doing the same for Mell. Laiacona says he made the man a proposal: "I said, I'll show you mine if you show me yours." Mell's petition, he says, gave an address on Melrose Street.

Laiacona notes on his blog,, that his lawyer, Richard Means—"wise man or is it 'wise guy' that he is"—waited until an hour before the deadline to file the challenge, which asserts: "Because Deborah L. Mell is not a duly registered voter at the address from which she seeks to be a candidate, the Nomination Papers are invalid in their entirety." (A PDF of the entire challege can be found here)

Earlier this week, a recommendation came down to dismiss the challenge. According to the Reader: "Citing the Illinois Election Code, examiner Barabara Goodman said a candidate does not have to be a registered voter to run, and therefore the address on her voter registration is irrelevant." The Board of Elections meets on December 1 to start working through the challenges. Friend of Chicagoist Eric Zorn breaks it down even more here.