GAB's decision prompts write-in campaigns for Onalaska School Bo - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

GAB's decision prompts write-in campaigns for Onalaska School Board

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Onalaska, WI (WXOW) - -

The GAB's decision to remove Ann Garrity and Tim Smaby from the Onalaska School Board ballot isn't enough to keep the two from running, as they both are in the process of becoming write-in candidates.

MORE: Smaby, Garrity kicked off ballot

"Obviously Tim Smaby and I are very disappointed, but respect the process and respect the decision, Garrity said.  "It is our intention to launch a write-in campaign. We both have a very strong desire to continue to serve the students and families here in Onalaska."

Jake Speed, the other candidate who initially challenged the validity of several signatures on both Smaby's and Garrity's nomination papers, said he wasn't surprised by the ruling.

MORE: New Complaint Filed in School Board Race

"The GAB had already laid it out with the mayor, so I pretty much knew how it was going to go," he said.

Earlier this month, the GAB ruled some signatures on Mayor Joe Chilsen's nomination papers invalid for similar reasons, therefore removing him from the ballot.

Speed said the GAB needs to continue to maintain consistency in its rulings across the state.

"That's election integrity," he said. "The sanctity of the vote is something that's very important in America, it really is. That's our elective representatives and they're there to do a job for us."

Speed will now be the only name on the ballot April 5.

District Clerk Brian Haefs said he is disappointed in the GAB's reversal of his ruling.

"In state statute, if substantial compliance is shown it is within the clerks power place candidates on the ballot.  Through the hearing, I felt that substantial compliance was displayed," he said. "I wanted the voters to decide who will serve on the school board.  The two issues that I have with the reversal of my ruling is that the GAB did not go back to the state statute to decide this case.  Second the GAB took the right of the voters away to decide who will be on the ballot and potentially represent the city of Onalaska on the school board."

MORE: District rules to keep three candidates on ballot

Speed said with his name being on the ballot, he's giving the voters of Onalaska a choice.

"I think a little bit of competition is healthy, I think people having a choice is healthy," he said. "There hasn't been one. so to say that i'm taking their choice away from them is absolutely the opposite of what's true. I'm giving them that choice."

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