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Mary Hunter Off Ballot in Race for 39th Ward Alderman

By Patty Wetli | December 29, 2014 12:39pm
 Mary Hunter is off the ballot in the 39th Ward, leaving two candidates to challenge 39th Ward Ald. Margaret Laurino.
Mary Hunter is off the ballot in the 39th Ward, leaving two candidates to challenge 39th Ward Ald. Margaret Laurino.
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Facebook/Mary Hunter for 39th Ward Alderman

NORTH PARK — Mary Hunter, who challenged incumbent Ald. Margaret Laurino in 2011, is off the 2015 ballot for 39th Ward alderman, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has decided.

The board declared her nominating papers, which contained just 268 signatures, invalid. The required minimum number of signatures is 473.

In defending her nominating petition, Hunter argued that the law used to determine the number of signatures was unconstitutional and created a burden on those seeking access to the ballot.

During a typical election cycle, Illinois statute states that the number of signatures needed on an aldermanic nominating petition must total at least 4 percent of the votes cast in a given ward during the previous election for alderman. In the case of the 39th Ward, that number would be 204 signatures.

However, the rules change in the election following the redistricting of ward boundaries, according to the statute.

Chicago adopted a new ward map in 2012. In these circumstances, the number of votes cast in the previous mayoral election, divided by the number of wards, is used to arrive at the signature requirement — 473 for the 2015 ballot.

Citing a number of legal precedents, the election board found that a statute must be presumed constitutional, and ruled against Hunter.

Two challengers remain on the ballot against Laurino: Robert Murphy and Joe Laiacona.

Murphy, an architect and past president of the Forest Glen Community Club, has been an active member of the Fair Allocation in Runways Coalition, which has protested a shift in O'Hare airplane traffic.

Laiacona is a resident of Albany Park and retired educator, having taught computer programming at Columbia College for more than 20 years.

Laurino has been alderman of the 39th Ward since 1994. She was appointed to the position by Mayor Richard M. Daley to replace her father, Anthony Laurino. The elder Laurino, alderman since 1965, resigned after being indicted in a ghost payroll scheme.

Chicago's municipal election is set for Feb. 24, 2015.

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