December 11, 2016 · 10 Comments
DuPage Co. (ECWd) –
With over half of the DuPage County Board also being attorneys, to include the County Chairman, how is it that laws don’t matter in DuPage County?
Through friends and crony connections, multiple DuPage County officials have attempted to get the Edgar County Watchdogs to back off and ignore the malfeasance and self-dealing that goes on in DuPage County. Each time we exposed something it was only a matter of days before word got back to us wanting to know why we are, as they put it, “going after them”.
It’s about the rule of law.
A recent news article raises the hair on our backs as it is clear from the positions being taken, certain public officials need to be removed from office for violating their oath of office. Yes, elected officials take an oath to uphold the laws of our state and it’s clear once again there are some in Du Page County that take the position laws don’t matter.
DuPage County is overwhelmingly Republican turf. Republicans that claim to be conservative and stand on the rule of law ought to realize their actions speak louder than words. These are the same people that will scream from the mountaintops when Judges start legislating from the bench, known as Judicial Activism. Judges are there to enforce our laws, not circumvent them.
The DuPage Election Commission is appointed by none other than the County Chairman, Dan Cronin. The same guy that claims his consolidation efforts have saved $100 Million dollars, yet, to date, no one can produce the spreadsheet supporting such propaganda. More on that in the future. The Election Commission, pretty much by their own admission, violated the law when they notified voters about multiple referendums on the ballot in violation of the notification requirements. The law cites that they must provide the notification no more than 30 days and no less than 10 days before the election. (Election Code 10 ILCS 5/12-5) The legislature placed a maximum and a minimum on the books for a reason.
Notice for public questions. For all elections held after July 1, 1999, notice of public questions shall be required only as set forth in this Section or as set forth in Section 17-3 or 19-3 of the School Code. Not more than 30 days nor less than 10 days before the date of a regular election at which a public question is to be submitted to the voters of a political or governmental subdivision, and at least 20 days before an emergency referendum, the election authority shall publish notice of the referendum.
Examples of timeline statutes:
Conduct of Elections -10 ILCS 5/17-1 : The polls shall be opened at the hour of 6:00 a.m. and continued open until 7:00 p.m. of the same day, at which time the polls shall be closed; but if the judges shall not attend at the hour of six o’clock in the morning, or if it shall be necessary for the electors present to appoint judges to conduct the election, as herein prescribed, the polls may, in that case, be opened at any hour before the time for closing the same shall arrive, as the case may require.
I suspect the Election Commission would not allow the opening or closing of the polls three days earlier or later. Using their logic, why not, no one is harmed and we need to get as many people voting as we can. The truth of the matter is our society is harmed. Harmed by the lawlessness such an action creates. Laws Matter!
Open Meetings Act: It outlines you must publicly post meetings 48 hours in advance. That means you can’t start the meeting 15 minutes early which would constitute a 47hrs and 45 minutes notice.
Disgraced former Edgar County Board Chairman Chris Patrick tried to pull that stunt and was shot down by the Attorney General PAC office. In a feeble attempt to justify his actions, the claim was made that no one was harmed because no one showed up at the posted time of the meeting.
In the event the Election Commission tries to blame the early publication on those who publish the paper, such an error stands without specific legislation that would allow such a mistake. Case and point are our Truth in Taxation Hearings statute.
Truth In Taxation Hearings – (35 ILCS 200/18-100)
Sec. 18-100. Defective publication. A levy of a taxing district shall not be invalidated for failure to comply with the provisions of this Article if the failure is attributable to the newspaper’s failure to reproduce the information in the notice accurately or to publish the notice as directed by the taxing district.
(Source: P.A. 87-201; 88-455.)
The Election Code DOES NOT have such a qualifying language in the statute and had the legislature wanted the notifications of ballot measures to have such language they would have included it.
DuPage Election Commission Director is quoted in the above-linked article stating: “It’s not a fatal error,” Saar said. “It wasn’t published late.”
No, it was not published late, it was published early, which violates the statute. That same person goes on to make the case that their actions are wrong and have consequences, however, he also points to Judicial Activism as the top solution to fix those wrongs. We will address his statements and then provide the proper solution.
“The bond guys are rightfully nervous about it because they’re issuing 20-year bonds,” Saar said. “Any time during that 20-year period somebody could raise an issue. That could cause serious problems for the bond house.”
He gets the fact that somebody could raise an issue with Bonds being sold that did not conform to the requirement of the law. It’s called Bond Fraud in many cases. Very similar to the Village of Chatham selling Bonds claiming they are going to build a 3.2 Million Gallon per day facility and then actually building something smaller with the money. The Securities and Exchange Commission doesn’t take kindly to that type of activity. So if the Election Commission Director understands the potential Bond problems, and even states those problems could be serious, how is it that he doesn’t understand the application of law in his other two brain-trust ideas?
He claims there are two ways to fix the problem.
“The first is to ask state lawmakers to approve legislation saying it was OK to have the notification made three days early.”
Brilliant! If you break the law this guy’s solution is to have the law-makers change the law and make it retroactive in order to void their violation of the law in the first place. That is known as crony legislation and it makes as much sense as crony capitalism. They both suck!
“The commission wants to pursue a second option, which would be less costly and time-consuming, by asking a DuPage judge for a declaratory judgment.”
So now they want Judicial Activism through a declaratory judgment? Really? Are they seriously going to ask a judge to ignore the mandated notification criteria established by the legislature? If a DuPage County Judge were to ignore the notification requirements and allow these referendums to stand then he too should be removed from office in our opinion. A Judge is there to enforce our laws, not overrule them.
Why should the Director of the Election Commission in DuPage County be removed? According to the news article on this from the Daily Herald, “The commission’s attorneys plan to argue that no harm was done to the public by having the notification made 33 days before the election.” “It’s not a fatal error,” Saar said. “It wasn’t published late.” Any Director of a public body that believes Judicial Activism is the solution for correcting his mistakes has no business in public office.
Interestingly I don’t find an exemption or provision in the statute that says as long as no one was harmed or the notice was not published late it’s OK to allow the action. The law is clear and provides specific timelines, and considering we are are a Dillons Rule state, short of such an exemption or provision, the notice violated the law and no Judge has any place ruling contrary to the specific timeline of the law.
Sadly, the DuPage County Election Commission only sees two options to fix this problem when in fact there is only one option and they failed to point it out. Follow the law! The fact the law was not followed should negate those referendums and the solution is to simply put them back on the ballot again and provide notification to the voters as the law mandates.
I wonder how many of the DuPage County Board members who are lawyers are going to speak up and demand the law be followed and those referendums be blocked?
And let’s not forget this Election Commissions Statement
The DuPage County Election Commission is an independent, bi-partisan government entity operating under state and federal election laws to promote accurate, efficient, accessible and secure elections in DuPage County. We serve the public through education and information about the election process, voter registration, election administration and leadership in improving election procedures. We maintain the highest professional standards to ensure the integrity of the election process.
The Commission is appointed by Dan Cronin and if they want the voters to believe that they maintain the highest professional standards to ensure the integrity of the election process, may we suggest you replace every last one of them that supports Judicial Activism or Legislative corrections to their violations of the law.
More importantly, if they are there to serve the public through education and informatoin about the election process, it is clear they don’t understand the legal election process, nor is taking action to circumvent that law a postitive education for our society.
I contend the Election Commission is a prime example of the failures coming out of DuPage County Leadership!
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By Kirk Allen
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