The Carbondale Observer

News and commentary about Carbondale, Illinois and SIUC

Letter to the Editor: County Electoral Board Wrong to Disqualify Candidates

with 4 comments

As most of you will already know, Geoffrey Ritter reported in this week’s Carbondale Times that the Jackson County Electoral Board ruled that the Republican candidates for State’s Attorney and Coroner will not appear on the ballot in November because their paperwork was fastened with a paperclip rather than a staple. Republican Jackson County Board member Will Stephens of Murphysboro wrote the following letter to the editor and submitted it to this blog and other area news outlets. I will post my own thoughts on this matter in a separate post, which you can read by clicking here

To the Editor:

In any given election cycle voters in Illinois and across the nation draw the curtains behind them on Election Day only to find one candidate on the ballot for a number of elected positions. This is especially prevalent at the local level. I believe that most of us can agree that voters are better served when they have a choice. Candidates who run unopposed have less motivation to meet the public, and in turn are more likely to lose touch with the people who placed their trust in them to start with. Recently the Jackson County election authority made headlines by ruling that Republican candidates for State’s Attorney and Coroner would not be allowed ballot access because the candidates petitions and other paperwork happened to be fastened with a paper clip instead of a staple.

The election law only states that the paperwork submitted be “securely bound” when turned in to the election authority, which is in this case the Jackson County Clerk’s office. It is unfortunate that the Jackson County election authority, which was comprised of three Jackson County Democratic officials, would issue such a self serving, narrow minded and craven ruling. Even the most passive follower of the body politic can see that this desperate attempt to toss candidates off the ballot by the Jackson County Democratic Party does nothing to serve the public, or enfranchise voters on Election Day.

I hope that the voters of Jackson County will remember this ruling when casting their votes this November. After all, if it were left up to the Jackson County Election Authority, you would be left with only one option on the ballot for Coroner and State’s Attorney…because of a staple. To quote Mike Bost’s recent impassioned speech on the Illinois House floor, “not the American Way!”

Respectfully submitted,

Will Stephens (R) Jackson County Board, District 3, Murphysboro


Written by The Carbondale Observer

June 22, 2012 at 7:45 am

4 Responses

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  1. […] ballot because their paperwork was fastened with a paperclip rather than with a staple. I posted a letter to the editor on this topic from Republican Jackson County Board member Will Stephens this morning, and now I […]

    • This type of shenanigans is such a waste of time. “Fastened securly” does not mean stapled it means held together so the papers will stay together. As far as I am concerned a butterfly clip would work. I am a democrat and believe this to be a rather stinky moment for the dems.


      July 1, 2012 at 8:30 am

  2. Any person, who is serious about running for an elected position, should take the time to check details, no matter how small, before submitting their paperwork. If they can’t follow the initial rule as simple as neatly fastening together their paperwork upon submission then how can we be confident that attention is being paid to critical issues affecting the constituents voting?

    Registered Voter

    June 25, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    • Registered Voter – Since I posted this, Geoffrey Ritter has published another another article on this matter in the Carbondale Times. It turns out that the law doesn’t specify whether staples or paperclips should be used to fasten petitions. According to that article, the case law isn’t clear either. According to one ruling in the Third Appellate District, paperclips are not sufficient. According to a different ruling in the First Appellate District, paperclips are fine.

      If the law was clear and staples were required then I’d agree with you, although I’d think the law was unnecessarily strict. But it seems to me that the law isn’t clear. That fact undermines your argument.

      The Carbondale Times usually doesn’t post its articles online until a week after they appear in print, so I can’t link the article from today’s paper. But if you’re in Carbondale or the surrounding area you can pick up a free copy.

      Thanks for the comment!

      The Carbondale Observer

      June 27, 2012 at 6:05 pm

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