The candidacy of nearly all of the contenders in the 28th Ward and several in the 29th Ward races remain in doubt as hearings continued Wednesday, Dec. 8 to determine who will qualify for the Feb. 22 ballot.

Hearings will continue well into next week before officials certify the list of people who will challenge incumbent Ald. Deborah Graham in the 29th as well as who will run in the 28th Ward, where Ald. Ed Smith served until retiring last week. The ballot will be finalized on Dec. 23, which, coincidentally, is the last day for candidates to withdraw their names from consideration.

Challenges to candidates in the 37th were withdrawn after the first hearings of the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, while decisions are pending in matters involving 29th Ward candidates Bernard Cobbins Jr. and Curtis Myles.

As of Tuesday, none of the challenged candidates had been removed from the ballot. Objections had to be filed by Nov. 30. All decisions will be posted on the board’s web site.

The only unchallenged candidate in the 28th Ward was William Siegmund. Credentials are being reviewed for: David J. Young, Michael A. (Mike) Stinson, Carol G. Johnson, Jason C. Ervin, James Ogden, Erick Von Kondrat, Velda Brunner, Shawn A. Walker and Carmelita P. Earls.

Of the 13 candidates filing in the 29th Ward, Ald. Graham, C.B. Johnson, Thomas E. Simmons, Mary Russell Gardner, Jill R. Bush and Roman Morrow remain unchallenged. Besides Cobbins and Myles, contenders in doubt are: Sheneather “Shey” Butler, Eugene Greer, Marshall E. Hatch Sr., Oddis “O.J.” Johnson and Beverly D. Rogers.

In the 37th Ward, the candidates are: Ald. Mitts, Marietta Brown-Miller, Minerva V. Orozco, Steven E. Pleasant, Tommy O. Abina and Shanika J. Finley.

In examining the challenges, a variety of reasons surfaced.

Some were as simple as not numbering the pages of the petitions submitted to the election board. Other claims included candidates not getting enough valid signatures to qualify because some were forged, the people who signed petitions were not registered to vote or did not live in the ward, or some people signed a petition twice or signed the petitions for more than one candidate running in the same contest.

In the 28th and 37th wards, a candidate had to collect 152 signatures to qualify for the ballot; in the 29th Ward, a candidate needed 157. Those figures were based on 2 percent of the total number of votes cast in that aldermanic race in 2007.

Other reasons candidates’ petitions were challenged involved discrepancies related to the people who circulated nominating petitions.

Challengers claimed that the circulators were too young to pass around petitions (you have to be at least 18 and a citizen of the United States, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections). Challengers also charged that they did not live at the address they marked down; or they did not witness the signing of the petitions.

There also were challenges over who had notarized some of the petitions.

Challengers also asserted that some candidates should be removed from the ballot because they owed money to Chicago-in violation of state law-while others failed to provide a receipt for the statement of economic interest, which is required when candidates file their nominating papers.

Hearings take place at 69 W. Washington.