Since there is so much confusion and misinformation regarding the election objections for the write-in candidates for the Atlanta Public Library and the City of Atlanta let’s look at the FACTS. The objections were necessary to preserve the integrity of the election process. In this article we will examine 3 documents and their purpose and you will soon understand why the write-in candidates, who were objected to, failed to comply with the simplest of laws and instructions.
The objections were based on the following FACTS:
Statement of Economic Interest – The purpose of this form is to disclose any possible conflicts of interest between the candidate and the unit of government in which they are a candidate and or other units of government they are obligated to. This form is required by the IL Constitution and supported by the IL Governments Ethics Act. It is considered one of the most important documents within the candidate packet.
To start with, at the very top header of the Statement of Economic Interest, in large font, it instructs the candidate to file with the County Clerk.
Jim (Retired school teacher) could not follow the instructions at the top of the Statement of Economic Interest, plus he didn’t even date his Statement of Economic Interest. Neither did Randy Brooks.
Statement of Candidacy Form – The intent of this form is to not only identify the office the candidate is running for but to also attest that they are qualified for the office they are seeking and that they will provide a Statement of Economic Interest.
The affidavit portion of the Statement of Candidacy form, which each candidate took an oath to by signing, states the following:
“I have filed (or I will file before the close of the petition filing period) a Statement of Economic Interest as required by the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act”
By signing this document in front of a Notary Public, they acknowledged they understood this requirement and pledged to adhere to the requirement.
2019 State of Illinois Candidate’s Guide
Page 20 of the 2019 State of Illinois Candidate’s Guide Issued by the State Board of Elections states the following:
“1. Each candidate must file a receipt indicating that he or she has filed a Statement of Economic Interests as required by the Illinois Governmental Ethics Act. [10 ILCS 5/7-10, 7-12, 8-8, 10-5; 5 ILCS 420/1-101 et seq.] EXCEPTION: The receipt is not required if the Statement of Economic Interests is filed with the same officer with which the nominating papers are filed. (i.e. county officers). [10 ILCS 5/7-12(8)]
“2. Candidates are advised to file their receipt at the same time they file their nominating petitions. While the receipt need not accompany the nominating petitions at the time of filing, it must be filed no later than 5:00 p.m. on the last day on which nomination papers may be filed for the office for which the candidate is seeking. [10 ILCS 5/7-12, 8-8, 10-5”
Since this guide is readily available to all candidates and election authorities, we contend the candidates had multiple opportunities to meet all of the Statement of Economic Interest requirements.
IL Election Code 10 ILCS 5/10-5 specifically states the following requirement
“If the nomination papers of any candidate and the Statement of Economic Interest of that candidate are not required to be filed with the same officer, the candidate must file with the officer with whom the nomination papers are filed A RECEIPT from the officer with whom the Statement of Economic Interest is filed showing the date on which such statement was filed. Such receipt shall be so filed not later than the last day on which nomination papers may be filed.”
A receipt from the Logan County Clerk and Recorder for either a previously filed or timely filed new Statement of Economic Interest was not met or attached to any of the objected write in candidate packets. Therefore, they FAILED to meet IL Election Code 10 ILCS 5/10-5 requirements.
IL Governmental Ethics Act 5 ILCS 420/-105 states
“A candidate for elective office shall file his Statement of Economic Interest not later than the end of the period during which he can take the action necessary under the laws of this State to attempt to qualify for nomination, election, or retention to such office if he has not filed a statement in relation to the same unit of government within a year preceding such action.”
Those candidates who had previously filed a Statement of Economic Interest could have used that statement. However, none of the candidates that were objected to provide a copy of a previous Statement of Economic Interest or a receipt with their candidate packet.
Constitution of the State of Illinois, ARTICLE XIII, GENERAL PROVISIONS Section 2 STATEMENT OF ECONOMIC INTERESTS states:
“Failure to file a statement within the time prescribed shall result in ineligibility for, or forfeiture of, office.”
There are NUMEROUS Court Cases supporting these objections from all over the State of IL ranging from Chicago to East St. Louis with some even being affirmed by the Illinois Appellate Court and IL Supreme Court.
In addition to all of this, the library candidates were given a cover letter with their candidate packet that included instructions for completing the candidate packet. One of those instructions was:
“Statement of Economic Interest – The original should be filed with the Logan County Clerk. The County Clerk will provide a copy to candidate to be filed with the City/Village Clerk.”
Another objection outside of the Statement of Economic Interest objections was for Dale Colaw. Dale was given the luxury of filing his candidate packet on Sunday, December 16th. Why is this significant?
Sunday, December 16th, 2018 is outside of the City of Atlanta’s normal business hours. Other candidates were not provided this same opportunity nor were these hours posted publicly for other candidates to take advantage of. Allowing Dale Colaw to hand his packet in outside of the normal business hours impacts the ballot order of candidates and creates the appearance of manipulation of the Election Code and the outcome of the April 2nd, 2018 Consolidated Election. Please note that failure to comply with any part of the election code can result in additional filings and criminal charges per 10 ILCS 5/1A-8 of the IL Election Code
Illinois Election Code under 10 ILCS 5/10-6.2, specifically states the following requirement
“The State Board of Elections, the election authority or the local election official with whom petitions for nomination are files pursuant to this article 10 shall specify the place where files shall be made and upon receipt shall endorse there on the day and the hour at which each petition was filed”.
A Business Day is defined within the State of IL Election code as: “Any day in which the office of an election authority, local election official, or State Board of Elections is open to the public for a minimum of 7 hours”
Dale Colaw’s receipt below validates this objection. It also begs the question, Is the City of Atlanta being run out of someone’s private residence? At the Objection Hearing Dale stated he turned his Candidate Packet of Original Documents in before he left for work on Monday. He stated his candidate packet was deposited in the outdoor Water Bill drop box. That doesn’t appear to be a very responsible decision when you are required to hand in original documents, not photocopies, to run for office.
IL Election Code 10 ILCS 5/10 specifically states the following requirement:
“All petitions for nomination shall, besides containing the name of the candidates, specify as to each:
1. The office or offices to which such candidate or candidates shall be nominated.”
This requirement is further affirmed in the Statement of Candidacy Independent form revised August 2017 as follows:
“For unexpired terms, specify “2 year unexpired term” or “4 year unexpired term” along with he office in the “Office” space provided above.”
Using an older version of the form does not absolve the candidate of the responsibility to declare the office they are running for. In this case for either a 2 year term or a 4 year term.
Linda Evans failed to list which office she is running for:
As you can see from the FACTS presented above, the laws pertaining to securing ballot access necessitate certain requirements be met. With ALL of the candidates having had the same easy to read instructions and opportunity to follow them, why were some able to follow them and others not? Now that the FACTS have been presented, voters may want to reconsider who they plan to vote for. You have to ask, if these candidates are unwilling to follow the simple laws and instructions, how will they follow the more important ones if they are elected? Remember you are entrusting these candidates with your tax dollars. Every one of these people failed to properly file and violated the election law. That is why they are not on the ballot.