Chatham, IL. (ECWd) -
If we can't trust our electoral process and those in charge of it then we are doomed as a civil society. Laws are in place to protect our rights and when those in charge violate those laws we move further and further from a government by the people and for the people.
When it comes to municipal government, candidates are required to follow certain rules in their pursuit of office and the people have a right to object to a candidate's violations of those rules. In the case of the Village of Chatham, we have evidence and independent confirmation that a candidate's petition papers were tampered with, taken out of the office and held in the Clerk's personal home, and that the Village Clerk has violated his oath of office. Those actions, we believe, are violations of law and grounds for his immediate resignation.
Article XIII Section 3 - "I do solemnly swear (affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States, and the Constitution of the State of Illinois, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of .... to the best of my ability."
"faithfully discharge the duties of the office"
10 ILCS 5/10-9.3 - "The municipal officers electoral board to hear and pass upon objections to the nominations of candidates for officers of municipalities shall be composed of the mayor or president of the board of trustees of the city, village or incorporated town, and the city, village or incorporated town clerk, and one member of the city council or board of trustees, that member being designated who is eligible to serve on the electoral board and has served the greatest number of years as a member of the city council or board of trustees, of whom the mayor or president of the board of trustees shall be the chairman.
10 ILCS 5/10-10 -"The electoral board shall take up the question as to whether or not the certificate of nomination or nomination papers or petitions are in proper form,..."
We know one candidate for Mayor turned in her petitions and realized after the fact that they contained fatal errors. Specifically, the petitions were not bound together nor were the pages numbered. Both have been ruled in courts as fatal errors and those people were removed from the ballot. Upon realizing the error, Candidate Judd took steps to do the right thing and correct those errors.
Initially, she thought simply withdrawing them and correcting the errors would resolve her concerns. That is where the Clerk's violations of law begins to unravel. Upon her request to withdraw her petitions, the Clerk allowed her to do so and did so in direct violation of the law.
10 ILCS 5/10-4 -..."A petition, when presented or filed, shall not be withdrawn, altered, or added to,.."
Upon receipt of her petitions, she found that her documents had been tampered with. She found that they had been added to and altered. Specifically, they were now numbered and stapled together, which were her two primary concerns in the fist place.
Who altered them and added to them has yet to be determined, but rest assured, it will be a matter for discussion at the Village meeting Tuesday night, December 27th, 2016 at 6 pm.
After consulting with those who understand the law on such a matter, Ms. Judd did the right thing and circulated all new petitions and turned in petitions that were proper and in compliance with the law as she realized the documents she withdrew were now tainted for numerous reasons.
The most disturbing of all of this is the Village Clerk's comment after Darlene Judd explained why she wanted to withdraw her petitions in the first place. According to her signed affidavit on the matter, "Clerk Schad then informed me that he, the Mayor, and the senior Trustee, would not allow me to be thrown off through an objection."
So the Village of Chatham has a Clerk who takes the position they would not allow a person to be thrown off the ballot through a petition objection? A citizen's right to object is based on the trust that the electoral board would follow the law, which they took an oath to uphold. In this case, those who would have heard such an objection would have been made up of the bird-finger flipping Mayor Gray who is facing censure for his actions, the Village Clerk who clearly participated in violating the election law, and the senior trustee of the village.
It is our position that the Village Clerk has allowed petitions to be withdrawn in direct violation of the law and those very petitions had been tampered with while under his control. Couple those failings with the fact he has a pre-deposed position that he would not remove a person for petition papers that were not compliant with the law, and I think we can agree that Clerk Schad should resign immediately!
As it relates to Mayoral Candidate Darlene Judd, our hats off to you for doing the right thing and circulating new petitions that are compliant with the law.
Although we are not endorsing any candidate in the Village of Chatham election, we find that her actions are the traits we need in our local governments. A trait of doing the right thing even when assured you don't need to by those in charge.
Darlene Judd's Affidavit on this matter can be found below. We suggest members of the Village of Chatham take this information to the Sangamon County State's Attorney for possible prosecution of the Clerk for violation of Election Law.
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