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Naperville election candidates fighting to stay on ballot

Three candidates in the upcoming municipal election in Naperville are fighting to stay on the ballot after objections were made to their nominating petitions.

A hearing for mayoral candidate Tiffany Stephens and city council candidates Nag Jaiswal and Derek McDaniel will take place Monday morning in front of the city’s electoral board — Naperville Mayor Steve Chirico, Paul Hinterlong, the longest-tenured council member, and City Clerk Pam Gallahue . The panel will determine if the objections are valid and whether the candidates should be removed from the ballot for the April election.

Naperville resident Arian Ahmadpour, with attorney Ross Secler, filed objections to the paperwork submitted by Stephens and McDaniel. Elizabeth Zega, also a Naperville resident, objected to Jaiswal’s paperwork.

The objection against Stephens, who is running for mayor with Councilman Benny White and liquor commission member Scott Wehrli, stems from her residency. Ahmadpour claims in the objection documents that Stephens hasn’t lived in Naperville for the required one-year minimum time frame.

According to the documents, Stephens lived in Aurora before July.

Reached Wednesday, Stephens said the objection is unjustified and similar attempts were made to keep her from running for city council in 2011.

Stephens said she’s prepared to offer proof at Monday’s hearing that she’s lived in Naperville for the required amount of time. She said she has deep roots in Naperville, and her children went through Indian Prairie Unit District 204 schools.

“This wasn’t a surprise,” she said. “I knew I was stepping into unwanted territory, but this is what they do.

“I have the evidence to prove I’m a valid candidate,” she said.

Jaiswal, one of 12 city council candidates vying for four seats, learned of the objection to his candidacy while on a trip to India. The objection cites multiple inconsistencies in his petition sheets.

The inconsistencies, according to the objection documents, include petition sheets listing different terms for the office being sought. Also, different colored ink is used on multiple sheets, the wrong date is listed for the election and several signature lines were completed incorrectly.

Reached Wednesday in India, Jaiswal said he hadn’t yet thoroughly read the objection documents. He insisted, however, that he gathered the required signatures himself and did nothing improper.

Because he won’t be back in the country by Monday, he’s hoping to find someone legally allowed to represent him at the hearing.

“We did everything the right way,” he said. “If there are any oversights, I don’t know. But I don’t see anything glaring.”

McDaniel’s candidacy is being challenged for violating rules about properly numbering and fastening the petition sheets.

McDaniel declined to comment Wednesday, preferring to wait until Monday’s hearing.

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