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Stein Wins Objection, Battinus Removed from Ballot

Buffalo Grove resident Jeff Battinus won't be permitted to seek election this spring, after Andy Stein successfully objected to his petition.

Buffalo Grove resident Jeff Battinus’ name won’t appear on the April 9 ballot, village officials ruled Monday, making the spring election uncontested. 

The village’s electoral board unanimously agreed that state law prohibits candidates from appearing on the ballot if they miss filing deadlines for required paperwork. While Battinus filed most of his paperwork on Dec. 17, he failed to submit his statement of economic interests before the Dec. 26 deadline. He submitted the form on Jan. 2.

The missed deadline was called out last week by Trustee Andy Stein, another election candidate. Stein urged Battinus to withdraw his candidacy before he filed an official objection, which sparked Monday’s hearing.

Before the electoral board, made up of Village President Jeff Braiman, Trustee Jeff Berman and Village Clerk Janet Sirabian, came to their conclusion, they referenced three other similar cases. In each of those cases, the potential candidate was not permitted to run for election.

“I have found no cases that contradict these three cases,” said attorney Jeffrey Stein (no relation to Andy Stein), who represented the electoral board.

During the 45-minute hearing, Battinus described the omission as “simply a mistake” and claimed that Stein’s objection was “self-serving.”

“Laws are designed to protect people and property, not to stifle competition,” said Battinus, who urged the electoral board to “vote for true democracy today” by allowing his name to appear on the ballot.

“Whatever sympathies we may have … the courts have held that the rules reflected in the state statue are mandatory,” Berman replied.

“I agree with you that having more people running is a good thing,” Braiman said. But, he added, it’s not fair to place the blame on Andy Stein since Battinus was responsible for submitting the proper paperwork.

“They are correct. I need to be accountable for it,” Battinus said after the hearing. “I did make a mistake, and for that I apologize for the people of Buffalo Grove.”

Immediately after the hearing, Stein said he was pleased with the outcome. 

“Based on all the research that I did, I couldn’t imagine that this wasn’t going to be the result,” he said, referencing the legal precedent.

Battinus said he’s not sure whether he’ll seek election again in the future, but if he does, “the same mistake won’t be repeated,” he said.

His main objective was to give voters a choice when electing trustees this spring, he said. “If there were other people running, I would not have attempted to fight this,” he said.

In addition to Stein, current trustees Beverly Sussman and Lester Ottenheimer are seeking election to the three open seats.

sankar January 10, 2013 at 12:41 AM
RELENTLESSCRITIC, Again "Not Nice". Stein could have chosen not to file the objection and without the objection, Mr.Battinus would have contested the elections. You will be relentlessly criticizing if a person chooses to hijack the village board meeting, divert the agenda and ramble on about stuff that is irrelevant , just because they can do it legally.
RELENTLESSCRITIC January 10, 2013 at 04:27 AM
Sankar- I have absolutely no idea what your last comment means. 1). How could Battinus have contested the election? 2). How can a person "legally" hijack a board meeting, divert the agenda, and ramble on about stuff that is irrelevant? 3). Why wouldn't I criticize someone who does that stuff? What makes that behavior right? Did you not learn anything from the Lisa Stone nightmare? Or weren't you paying attention? And by the way, whether Stein's actions were nice or not is not really the issue. He did the right thing by following the rules and expecting others to do the same. Perhaps Battinus was not nice for expecting special treatment when he didn't abide by the rules?
ed conner January 10, 2013 at 01:45 PM
RC -- I cannot argue that Battinus' oversight was OK, because it was not. I think the board probably had no choice but to rule the way it did. My contention all along has been that the value to the Village of a competitive election outweighs the value of enforcing the rule in this instance. It's not as black and white to me as to some -- I believe there are degrees of rule-breaking. For example, failing to file the document altogether, or filing all paperwork after the deadline, would be more serious violations of the rule. I just don't think that a single document (out of many) filed 3 days late during the holidays rises to the level of seriousness to prevent a candidate from running for office, especially under the circumstances we now face of an uncontested election. But the ruling against Battinus itself does not bother me nearly as much as the fact that it was Trustee Stein who filed the objection. Whatever else you want to say about this situation, the undeniable end result is that one individual, uniquely positioned to benefit from the ruling, has effectively disenfranchised the entire village. Our votes for Trustee now mean nothing -- I think that stinks, and I blame Trustee Stein for denying me (and thousands of other citizens) a choice in this election. By the way, for the record, I am not a Battinus supporter nor, until recently, have I been a Stein detractor. I had never heard of Mr Battinus until the Stein objection appeared in the Patch.
RELENTLESSCRITIC January 10, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Ed- Would it have been any different if more than one of the candidates objected? It would have looked like they were ganging up on Battinus. Let's face it, not many people take the time to look at the paperwork that candidates file. In fact, I dare say that the only people (other than the officials who manage the election process) who review the filing documents are the candidates themselves. My guess is that at most, 5 people scrutinized the documents- and three of them were the candidates. Probably no one from the general public looked at them. So, if Stein didn't catch the mistake and challenge it, Battinus could have potentially made it to the ballot and gotten elected even though he didn't follow the rules and had an unfair advantage (albeit a small one) over the other candidates who did things properly. Stein hasn't disenfranchised the entire Village. I (and many others) respect and admire that he did the right thing. I'm certain he knew that this might create some bad press because people would question his motives, but the bottom line is that he and the other candidates followed the rules and he (and all of us voters) should expect that ALL candidates abide by them. No special considerations, no excuses, no hall passes. Don't blame Stein for denying you a choice in the election. Blame Battinus for not filing correctly and denying himself a spot on the ballot, and blame your fellow residents for not stepping up to be candidates.
sankar January 15, 2013 at 08:23 PM
Hi RelentlessCritic, Hope you are still reading this post, To answer your questions. RC question : 1). How could Battinus have contested the election? Answer : The meaning of the word contested is "Engage in competition to attain (a position of power)" (Thanks google). Battinus contested the election is for Mr.Battinus to engage in the competition (elections) to attain the position of power in the village board. Mr.Battinus filed papers to contest in the elections. If the papers were approved, he would have contested the elections. His papers were not approved because Stein chose to object to the papers on a technicality (A point of law or a small detail of a set of rules). If Stein had not objected, Mr.Battinus would have contested the elections. Please do not hesitate to respond if you need more clarity. RC Q2)2). How can a person "legally" hijack a board meeting, divert the agenda, and ramble on about stuff that is irrelevant? Answer : Filibuster. Can you figure out why it cannot be used in the village board legally?. RCQ3). Why wouldn't I criticize someone who does that stuff? What makes that behavior right? Did you not learn anything from the Lisa Stone nightmare? Or weren't you paying attention? Answer : You have every right to criticize. Lisa Stone issue was a very unique situation, there is no way it can be generalized. Dissent is not bad if it is done properly.

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