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First mayor, now board president won’t be on ballot in Onalaska

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Errors in nomination papers left
incumbents short required signatures

First the mayor of Onalaska incorrectly files his nomination papers for reelection. Now, it’s two Onalaska school board members, including the board president that aren’t on the ballot.

Ann Garrity, the board president and Tim Smaby, incorrectly filed their nomination papers, leaving them short the signatures – Garrity was 10 names short, Smaby seven – to be eligible to get on the ballot.

That was the ruling Thursday by the Government Accountability Board in Madison.

That leaves one official candidate on the ballot, Jake Speed, who was the one that filed the complaint against his two opponents. It’s a scenario very similar to the mayoral race where Jack Pogreba filed a complaint about Onalaska Mayor Joe Chilsen’s papers, leaving Pogreba the only name on the ballot.

“What they ended up doing was taking those names off,” Garrity said, “and putting (us) below the hundred (required signatures), so, you know, it was an honest mistake. Obviously there was no evil intent. It was just an oversight and I take responsibility for it.”

Like Chilsen, Garrity and Smaby plan on doing a write-in campaign for the April 4 election. Garrity and Smaby have 30 days to appeal the decision to circuit court.

“I respect the process and that was their decision,” Garrity said. “It wasn’t wholly unexpected, but I guess I was trying to remain positive, thinking (because) they took a long time to make a decision, and I was hoping for a better outcome.”

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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