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Chicago School Board candidates wait in line to submit for the school board nomination petitions to appear on the Nov. 5 ballot at the Chicago Voting Supersite at 191 N. Clark St. in the Loop last month. | Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times file

Chicago School Board candidates wait in line to submit for Board of Education nomination petitions to appear on the Nov. 5 ballot at the Chicago Voting Supersite at 191 N. Clark St. in the Loop last month.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

More than half of Chicago school board candidates face ballot challenges

A total of 42 challenges were filed against 27 candidates, meaning some of the school board hopefuls face more than one. Challenges could focus on improperly filed paperwork or the number of signatures.

Ballot challenges have been filed against 27 of 47 candidates for Chicago’s first ever school board elections.

The objections due Monday to the Chicago Board of Elections questioned whether a candidate had properly submitted a minimum of 1,000 notarized signatures from residents in their voting district supporting their candidacy.

Challenges could focus on improperly filed paperwork or the number of signatures, including whether there were duplicate names, wrong or incomplete addresses or forgeries. The stakes are high: Candidates who fail a review by the board of election commissioners could be knocked off the ballot pending appeals as high as the Illinois Supreme Court.

A total of 42 challenges were filed against the 27 candidates, meaning some of the school board hopefuls face more than one.

None of the three candidates in District 1 face any challenges. The Northwest Side district is the only race where the ballot is now effectively set.

But it may take weeks for voters in the nine other districts to know which options they’ll choose from in November.

In Districts 3 and 7, all the candidates face a challenge. And in District 10, which stretches along the south lakefront to the Southeast Side and has the most candidates, five of six candidates face challenges. Only former Chicago Public Schools Principal Adam Parrott-Sheffer is in the clear.

For the most part, the objections allege an improper number of signatures collected by candidates. For example, the person signing isn’t registered to vote in the candidate’s district, or the signatures collected “are not genuine or are forgeries,” as several challengers wrote, or the signer’s address is missing or incomplete, or some names appear more than once, in violation of election code.

There are candidates in the 5th, 7th and 9th districts who are also accused of failing to file the required statement of economic interests when each handed in nomination papers.

And a 3rd District challenge accuses a candidate of improperly altering his statement of candidacy after he signed it.

Board of Elections spokesman Max Bever said reviews should conclude within four to six weeks. The latest they could go is Aug. 29, when Cook County requires ballots to be certified for November. The process includes hearings — in some cases several — to discuss the details of a challenge.

“Last-minute ballot changes have been made in the past right up until ballot printing,” Bever said.

Even if a candidate is knocked off the ballot, they could mount a write-in campaign, albeit with all the obstacles that come with that underdog status.

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