By 25 News
NORMAL – The issue of districts for the Normal Town council will remain off the ballot following the most recent ruling from a McLean County judge.
Following multiple hours of arguments before Judge Scott Kording Monday, he released his decision virtually Tuesday.
The question at the heart of the case is an issue of the Illinois Municipal Code. The Town of Normal is called a town, but there is no space in the Illinois Municipal Code for towns, the only distinctions are cities and villages.
Last month, the Normal Electoral Board ruled Normal as an incorporated town, meaning they aren’t allowed to have districts. David Shestokas, the attorney representing those for the forum, appealed the decision to the McLean county court. Shestokas argues Normal is technically a village despite its name.
Kording studied the origin of Normal, dating back to 1867. A General Assembly charter from Feb. 25, 1867, declared Normal a town, there was a similar charter from the same time for the town of Cicero, Illinois as well.
Years later, Illinois updated its municipal code, creating only village and city distinctions. Kording said towns that used special charters, like Normal and Cicero, were essentially grandfathered in and able to keep their town status. Kording decided there was no way for Normal to change its distinction without council or legislative action to change it from a town to a village.
With that legal logic, Kording blocked the three suggested outcomes from those in favor of the petition, meaning the question will remain off the ballot.
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 the city government attorney for Normal and Bloomington.
Shestokas has previously said he would continue appealing the decisions. However, following Tuesday’s ruling, he and his clients had not decided next steps. The McLean County Clerk needs to have ballots prepared for early and mail-in voting. 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.