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Challenger Beukinga Wins Court Battle, Upholding 27th Ward Ballot Decision

By Stephanie Lulay | February 10, 2015 5:56pm
 Candidate Gabe Beukinga (left) is running against veteran Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (right) in the 27th Ward.
Candidate Gabe Beukinga (left) is running against veteran Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (right) in the 27th Ward.
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Beukinga; dnainfo

WEST LOOP — A day after early voting began across the city, a judge's ruling ended a months-long battle for candidate Gabe Beukinga in the 27th Ward.

On Tuesday, Judge Edmund Ponce de Leon affirmed the Board of Elections decision in the Beukinga case, according to court documents. The Board of Elections previously ruled that Beukinga should land a spot on the 27th Ward ballot.

The decision ends a challenge against Beukinga that began in December and comes exactly two weeks before Election Day Feb. 24. Beukinga is the sole candidate challenging veteran Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. in the 27th Ward.

Calling the challenges a "waste of time and money," Beukinga said he can now focus all of his energy on canvassing the ward.

"While we have a tremendous amount of crime and poverty in the ward which could have benefited from this money, Burnett showed how selfish he really is with this process," Beukinga said. "That’s a career politician for you, always looking out for himself rather than the community."

Burnett's campaign declined to comment Tuesday. 

After the Board of Elections ruling in January, Vashon Briscoe and Priscilla Yates filed a motion asking for a judge to review the board's ruling in the case. Before the request for court review, Briscoe and Yates filed an objection to Beukinga's election petitions that led to a lengthy review by the Board of Elections.

A provision in the city's election code allows a losing candidate to seek judicial review after the Board of Elections issues a ruling.

Yates and Briscoe were represented by attorney Steven Laduzinsky. 

Despite the objection against Beukinga's petitions, the Chicago Board of Elections decided in January that 31-year-old should appear on the ballot.

The objection against Beukinga argued that the petitions showed "a pattern of fraud," contained forged signatures and were "roundtabled," alleging that the same people signed the petition sheets multiple times.

More than a dozen Beukinga supporters, including former state Sen. Rickey Hendon, were subpoenaed in the challenge case.

Burnett, 51, is seeking his sixth term.

The diverse 27th Ward includes parts of the West Loop, Greektown, Garfield Park, the Near North Side, Old Town, West Humboldt Park, West Town, the Medical District and Goose Island neighborhoods.

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