NEWTON, IL. (ECWd):
The Jasper County Clerk appears to have violated the Notary Public Act [5 ILCS 312] during the 2015 election cycle.
In submitting his petition packet to run for the Jasper County School Board Unit 1, Jon Fulton submitted petition sheets that were notarized by Linda Huth, Jasper County Clerk.
No big deal at face value, however, Mrs. Huth also signed the petition as a voter on line 13 of a 12-line petition.
The Notary Public Act ("NPA") lists those "Acts Prohibited" in Section 6-104, of a commissioned Notary Public:
(b) A notary public shall not acknowledge any instrument in which the notary's name appears as a party to the transaction.
Why does this alleged "prohibited act" make any difference at all? Because there is a 50-signature requirement in order to have your name placed on the ballot for this school board. Her signature, written on line 13 of a 12-line petition, made up the 50th signature. The appearance of the additional line is questionable, in our opinion, and doubly questionable when Huth signed as voter and then notarized the document, which apparently violated state law.
The Illinois Appellate Court, 1st District, issued an Opinion in 2016 [¶ 32] in which they opined on the meaning of Section 6-104 of the Notary Public Act. [Johnson v. Ames, 2016 IL App (1st) 162770 - Ill: Appellate Court, 1st Dist., 5th Div. 2016]
A Notary Public is a public officer commissioned by the Illinois Secretary of State, who published a booklet (see top of page 25) with rules of Notaries, and the NPA defines "Official Misconduct" (which applied to public officials) as the wrongful exercise of power or wrongful performance of a duty. "Wrongful" meaning unauthorized, unlawful, etc.
The NPA also prescribes penalties for Official Misconduct under the NPA, and those are Class B Misdemeanor for recklessly or negligently committing the act to Class A Misdemeanor for knowingly and willfully committing the act. Either way, Revocation of Commission [Section 7-108] is also a penalty if found guilty of official misconduct under the NPA.
More to come on Jasper County matters!