Court ruling expected early next week in Normal’s districting case

Published: Sep. 16, 2022 at 8:55 PM CDT
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MCLEAN COUNTY (25 News Now) - A judge is expected to decide early next week whether there should be a referendum on the November ballot creating district representation on the Normal Town Council.

McLean County Associate Judge Scott Kording has set a hearing Monday at 2:30 p.m. in which lawyers will argue whether Normal’s electoral board correctly chose to invalidate the referendum.

The hearing was supposed to be held later next week, but County Clerk Kathy Michael said her office needs time to prepare ballots. She told 25 News that ballots must be ready next Friday for residents serving in the military and others who are overseas. Early voting for the November 8 election begins Thursday, September 29. That’s also the day the clerk sends out vote-by-mail ballots.

The electoral board ruled that Normal is an incorporated town, and only villages are subject to this type of referendum. The lawsuit challenging the board’s action claims Normal is indeed a village. In his court filing, attorney David Shestokas argued Normal has an unelected town clerk, which is only allowed in villages.

Shestokas, a former Republican Attorney General candidate, represents Kathy Siracuse of Normal, who originally filed referendum petitions. Normal resident Patrick Dullard, who objected to the referendum, is represented by Todd Greenburg, who used to be city government attorney for Normal and Bloomington.

Judge Kording indicated he may issue a ruling Monday or Tuesday. His decision can be appealed, but it’s not clear whether there’s enough time before the election for a higher court to hear the case.

Normal is currently governed by council members elected community-wide, but supporters of the change believe they would be better represented by council members elected from six districts.