WILL CO. (ECWd) -
The Will County Officers Electoral Board held its first meeting of this election cycle earlier this week. Another meeting is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, June 11, 2020.
The Board members were announced as:
- County Clerk
- Deputy Sheriff
The problem with these Board members, is that the Deputy Sheriff is not authorized to sit on the Electoral Board according to 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."
We are assuming in the case of the Will County Officers Electoral Board, that the State's Attorney and Circuit Clerk are not eligible to serve as board members this election cycle, which is why the "Treasurer" is a board member.
The "Sheriff of the County" should also be a board member - not one of his deputies.
The County Clerk, Circuit Clerk, and State's Attorney can designate "an assistant" of theirs to sit in their place, however, that language is not found in the statute when it talks about the Treasurer or the Sheriff of the County.
We believe, in this case - and according to the statue, that the Sheriff must be a board member (not a deputy or undersheriff), and if that is not possible, the Chief Judge of the County must appoint a "public member" to serve on the Electoral Board. This can be found in the last paragraph of Section 10-9 of the Election Code:
"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."
We believe any decisions made by this Board, with its current board members, can be overturned on an appeal simply because the board consists of members unqualified to be members.