Joliet, IL. (ECWd) -
After extensive arguments during the second day of the Will County Officers Electoral Board Hearings last Friday, June 12, 2020, including a Motion to disqualify the County Clerk from the Board, and an additional verbal agreement with both the petitioner's and candidate's attorneys that a designee of the County Sheriff could not sit in his place on the Board, the Board decided to "reconstitute" itself next Wednesday, June 17, 2020.
The State's Attorney and Circuit Clerk are either ineligible by statute, or self disqualified in this particular petition objection.
Discussion was heard that the board would ask the Sheriff to appear as a Board member, however, after our further reading of the Election Code, we do not believe a Treasurer AND a Sheriff can both be Electoral Board members.
Applicable portions of the Illinois Election Code, Sections 10-9(2) and 10-9(a)
- 2. The county officers electoral board of a county . . . shall be composed of the county clerk, or an assistant designated by the county clerk, the State’s attorney of the county or an Assistant State’s Attorney designated by the State’s Attorney, and the clerk of the circuit court, or an assistant designated by the clerk of the circuit court, of the county, of whom the county clerk or his designee shall be the chair“ In the event that any member of the appropriate board is a candidate for the office with relation to which the objector’s petition is filed, he shall not be eligible to serve on that board and shall not act as a member of the board and his place shall be filled as follows:
a. In the county officers electoral board by the county treasurer, and if he or she is ineligible to serve, by the sheriff of the county.”
Any vacancies on an electoral board not otherwise filled pursuant to this Section shall be filled by public members appointed by the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court for the county wherein the electoral board hearing is being held upon notification to the Chief Judge of such vacancies. The Chief Judge shall be so notified by a member of the electoral board or the officer or board with whom the objector's petition was filed. In the event that none of the individuals designated by this Section to serve on the electoral board are eligible, the chair of an electoral board shall be designated by the Chief Judge.
Here is how we read these paragraphs:
- IF one of the three statutory Electoral Board members is a candidate for the office in which an objection is filed, THEN the County Treasurer will replace that member on the board. IF the County Treasurer is ineligible, THEN the County Sheriff.
- It is EITHER the Treasurer OR the Sheriff, but not both.
- The Chief Judge of the County would appoint the other board member (a public member) when there is more than one member disqualified - because the only way to fill a vacancy in a County Officers Electoral Board, according to the Election Code, is to appoint EITHER the Treasurer OR the Sheriff, and the Sheriff would only be appointed IF the Treasurer was ineligible to serve on the Electoral Board.
The notion that this board can have both the Treasurer and the Sheriff as board members is inaccurate, in our opinion.
We suggest the Chief Judge be notified of this as soon as possible so that he/she may appoint a public member to this Electoral Board.
Video of Day 2 of the Will County Officers Electoral Board below (starts at the 25:50 mark in the video):