The critical November elections are just around the corner, but the equally important April 2019 municipal elections are not far behind.
The spring election season officially began Tuesday as candidates could officially begin circulating petitions for signatures. Each candidate must collect a certain number of signatures to appear on the April ballot.
There are numerous positions open in Monroe County.
In Waterloo, the mayor, city clerk and city treasurer positions are opening. Aldermanic positions in wards 1-4, park district commissioner positions, library district trustee roles and four school board spots are also up for grabs.
In Columbia, city council positions in wards 1-4 and three Columbia School Board seats will be up for election.
Valmeyer will see elections for village trustees, library district trustee and four board of education seats.
Fults will have elections for village president, clerk and trustees.
Maeystown residents will also elect a village president and trustees.
Hecker citizens will vote for village trustees.
Monroe County Clerk Dennis Knobloch outlined the steps prospective candidates need to take in order get on the ballot.
“All of these positions file during the same time period – the first day for filing is Dec. 10 and the last day for filing is Dec. 17,” Knobloch said. “Waterloo, Columbia and Valmeyer School Board candidates file in the county clerk’s office. City, village, park district and library candidates file with the clerk or the secretary of their specific district.”
Before they do that, however, candidates must first fill out a variety of paperwork.
“There are multiple forms that have to be filed, and we have packets prepared that contain all the necessary forms,” Knobloch said.
In Waterloo, incumbents for city clerk, city treasurer, each alderman position and mayor had picked up their packets as of Tuesday afternoon.
Former Waterloo Fire Chief Mark Yeager also picked up a packet for mayor. When asked by the Republic-Times about his intentions to run, Yeager said he was still considering things like family, which comes first.
“We’re just testing the waters,” Yeager said.
In Columbia, incumbents Steve Reis, Jeff Huch and Steve Holtkamp had picked up a packet by Tuesday afternoon for their aldermen roles.
Prospective candidates must also obtain those signatures on the petitions.
The number of signatures required differs with each position.
According to the state board of election’s 2019 candidates guide, mayoral, village president, city clerk, city treasurer and village trustee candidates in Monroe County who are from an established political party must get .5 percent of the signatures of the qualified primary electors in their respective parties.
Candidates for these offices must be a qualified elector/registered voter, not in debt to the municipality in which they are running and “not convicted of any infamous crime, bribery, perjury or other felony” in any U.S. court.
They must also have lived in the municipality for one year before the election.
These officials serve four-year terms.
A qualified elector in Illinois is an individual who is 18 or older and has lived in the voting district for at least 30 days.
Park district commissioners must fulfill the same requirements as the previous positions, but they must obtain signatures equaling 2 percent of ballots cast in the last election. They serve for six years.
Public library trustees must meet the same pre-requisites as park district commissioners, though they do not have to live in the district for a year prior to the election or meet requirements regarding being convicted of a crime.
They also serve six-year terms.
School board members must have their petitions signed by 50 qualified voters or 10 percent of the voters within the district, whichever is fewer.
They must be qualified electors/registered voters, live in the district for a year before the election and not be a child sex offender. They serve for four years.
With all the complexities of this process, Knobloch said his office will assist potential candidates as much as possible.
“If any candidates have questions, we can try to help them, or they can contact their local clerk or secretary to find out specifics of their individual offices,” he said.
Anyone can pick up a packet, even if they are only considering running for office. The packets also detail the signature requirements.
The consolidated election is April 2.
For more information, call the county clerk’s office at 939-8681, ext. 302.