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April 12, 2024

College of DuPage – Candidate cites Social Justice Journal to support her legal position

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On January 14, 2017

DuPage Co. (ECWd) –

During the petition objection hearing last Tuesday at the College of DuPage, the Electoral Board offered one of the candidates and opposing counsel the opportunity to prepare a legal brief that would point to case law on the matter before the board.  Specifically, the board is addressing the petitions filed by Husna Ghani and the lack of page numbers on her petitions.

It appears Ms. Ghani was not in the same hearing as I was.  In her response to the board’s request, she states certain things that did not take place during the hearing and instead of providing legal cases to support her position that not numbering her petition pages is not a fatal error, she cites language from a Social Justice Journal.

“The argument by the Objector states again that the candidate did not specify the term of candidacy for which the elected board term of the office was sought. At the hearing on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, this objection was in fact overruled because the original receipt stating the name of the office sought and the two year term was given by the office of the Electoral Board and was presented to the Electoral Board at the hearing and was duly noted and accepted by all parties.”

A review of the video from that meeting reflects, contrary to her claim of fact, nothing was overruled.  It appears she is taking the position that since the board was presented something and placed the information into the record, doing so constitutes an acceptance of her position and a silent overruling of the objection presented.

“A reasonable person will agree that failing to number an eight page document does not compromise the integrity of this election. As argued in the DePaul Journal of Social Justice, Spring 2013″

I read the document she points to and no such statement is argued but don’t take my word, read it for yourself Word search it and you will find very quickly that what this candidate has done is draw a conclusion from an agency’s opinion.  In addition, her comment implies that our higher courts are not reasonable people since they have ruled contrary to her position.  That is troubling for a person wanting to lead a higher education institution.

I am not sure what a Social Justice Journal has to do with case law but rest assured, the higher courts have been consistent and reasonable on the matter of page numbering.  More importantly, what she refers to as a DePaul Journal of Social Justice argument, turns out it is not even written by the DePaul Journal of Social Justice.   They published a paper written by the Citizens Advocacy Center and you can view that document, as published in the DePaul Journal of Social Justice, Spring 2013 at this link.

Even more disturbing is a statement in the document she refers to; “As quasi-judicial bodies, electoral boards have the authority to hear sworn witnesses, formally accept evidence, issue subpoenas, and render decisions based on law and fact.” (see page 6)

Illinois law is clear on quasi-judicial bodies and an electoral board is not one.  As outlined in the open meetings act; “Quasi-adjudicative body” means an administrative body charged by law or ordinance with the responsibility to conduct hearings, receive evidence or testimony and make determinations based thereon, but does not include local electoral boards when such bodies are considering petition challenges.”

May we suggest searching case law and election law to make your argument as it appears the Social Justice Journal contains outdated material when it comes to electoral boards

“However, in the hearing on Tuesday, January 10, 2017, the Objector was allowed to edit paperwork that was already previously submitted.”

The objector pointed out scrivener’s error in the filing and the board took note of that error.  At no time during the hearing that we attended did we see, nor did the video capture, the objector being allowed to edit paperwork.

“The two-year term seat is being sought by two individuals. If one name is withdrawn, due to a technical oversight, then there would only be one person running for that office. In this case, it would not be a true “running for office” but instead would be an uncontested election. Therefore this would result in an automatic placement without the procedural of a true democratic process.”

She refers to her fatal errors, not numbering her pages and not identifying the term of office she is seeking, as a technical oversight. May we suggest she read her Social Justic Journal again?

“The signature sheets must be bound securely and numbered consecutively.” (See page 12)

“Some of the provisions in the Election Code have been interpreted to be clear requirements for which wholesale disregard will defeat a nomination or petition for referendum.” (See page 18)

The courts have deemed not numbering ANY pages a fatal error, not a technical oversight.  She also implies that if an elected position is not contested it somehow means the person who is on the ballot is not actually “running for office”.  She then implies such an uncontested seat is obtained without the “procedural of a true democratic process”.  

We suggest Ms. Ghani read our Federalist papers, our Constitution, Illinois Election Law, and case law on the subject at hand.  Doing so will provide a wealth of knowledge about this great country which is a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy.

She closes her 4-page letter with an interesting statement in the last paragraph;

“Therefore I humbly request that you consider these facts when rendering your decision.”

Facts? I’m not sure what “facts” she is referring to but a few things are clear, she did not provide the case law sought by the Electoral Board.

During this particular hearing a local democrat raised the question as to why the only objections were those of two Muslim women and insinuated there was a lack of transparency at the College of DuPage. (See 13:24 mark of the video)  Not sure what transparency has to do with members of their party getting on the ballot but it does lead me to a question of my own.

How is it that the Democrats managed to gather enough signatures for a white male, Dan Markwell, but not enough for the two Muslim women?  DuPage Democrat Chair Robert Peickert notarized all of the petitions for Ghani and apparently provided no input on the importance of her numbering her pages.  The other candidate who withdrew claimed to have the assistance of a Democrat County Board member.  May I suggest these people look within for their failings as it relates to proper election documents instead of trying to insinuate the objections were based on religion.

I reviewed all of the petitions turned in and although I found errors with others, I only wrote about those that had fatal errors.  I had no clue what their religion was as that is not listed on any of the documents, nor does it matter!

Below is the full response candidate Ghani has submitted regarding her petitions and the objections to them.

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  • Roger Kempa
    Posted at 23:59h, 14 January

    Re: Board of Education; Hinsdale Township High School District 86

    What’s up here?

    1. Their CFO/Treasurer has been on paid administrative leave concerning discipline for a couple of months now without further explanation, or answer to public questions. No plans have been given on filling the void; past, present, & future.

    2. No Comprehensive Annual Financial Report available yet, or explanation provided; nearly 7 months after 6/30/16 close of fiscal year. Same goes for external auditor’s “management letter” & presentation of the same.

    3. Approved $76 Million referendum on ballot April 4, 2017 in a seat of the pants, haphazard manner; public unsure of what it consists of. Their architect verbally advised them a previous total cost needed 20% adjustment for construction inflation. Board added an undefined “aquatic center” for Central High School instead of “pool repair” as previously defined. Any basis to stop placement on ballot?

    • Frank Rizzo
      Posted at 12:26h, 15 January

      REMINDER! If you think the government entity has outstanding bonded debt the first place to search is EMMA. (See my previous comments on EMMA and financial disclosure documents at a previous post for additional details.)

      About EMMA: EMMA is the official repository for information on virtually all municipal bonds, providing free access to official disclosures, trade data and other information about the municipal securities market.

      Reference your #2 above and the College of DuPage 2016 CAFR- below you will find the link to the 2016 CAFR which was filed at EMMA on 10/14/2016:

      Audited Financial Statements or CAFR
      Unconfirmed CAFR Year Ended June 30, 2016 for the year ended 06/30/2016 posted 10/14/2016 (3.4 MB)

  • Dennis Finegan
    Posted at 02:35h, 15 January

    I spent 2 hours & 9 minutes watching the BOT Electoral Board meeting. I would hope that anyone that put forth a petition for an elected position would first review & carefully follow the instructions according to the law. I would assume that if that is not the case then they were not serious in their candidacy, or that they were unqualified since they showed themselves unable to follow directions.

    There was a letter to the editor in the Daily Herald recently that suggested that the lack of numbering was trivial. Fortunately I knew better because of previous postings to the Edgar County Watchdogs. Thanks for that.

    And thank you Frank W. For filing an objection. I agree with your paperwork.

    I’ve learned so much about the democratic process since the seminar in Naperville. Time well spent.

  • Danni Smith
    Posted at 22:14h, 26 April

    I could list many reasons why neither contender is qualified for the CoD Board of Trustees. Re: Rashheed-a computer, a print, the ability to organize four pages of photocopies, understanding of the language in which board meetings are conducted, that a trustee does not have a Trustee Manager, that one gets and obtains all necessary data, that one has comprehension of whom they wish to represent, not the people of Nebraska-that’s ENOUGH, wait did I mention religion?