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June 22, 2024

Shelby County Petition Objection Hearing Results

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On March 28, 2022

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

The Shelby County Petition Election Board heard the continued cases against Lynn Williams and Mitchell Esslinger who were both represented by Coles County Attorney Todd Reardon.  The first hearing can be viewed at this link which is the article covering that hearing.

Lynn Williams’s name will not appear on the ballot as he had wished due to his failure to number any of the 4 pages of petitions he filed with the County Election Authority, the County Clerk. His attorney attempted to use case law pertaining to a partial compliance case where pages were not numbered accurately, but William’s case reflected no attempt to number pages at all, which is a fatal error and should have been ruled upon in the first hearing as there was nothing that anyone could do to overcome that error and the board basically confirmed that in their comments today.  Why they permitted a continuance is perplexing.

Mitchell Esslinger’s name will appear on the ballot after testimony from the notary confirming she witnessed his signature but forgot to sign two of the sheets.  After her testimony, the objectors withdrew their objection. Had she not testified Esslinger could have possibly been removed from the ballot.

Of interest to us is the process.  We asked the board to look at their adopted rules for the hearings as the portion related to subpoenas is inconsistent with state law.  During the last meeting board member Jay Scott, who is also a Shelby County Assistant States Attorney stated that the only way subpoenas can be issued was by a majority vote of the board, however, their policy states something entirely different and their policy is different than state law.

Adopted Rule 6 on Subpoenas “At the request of any party, the Chairman my [sic] issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of witnesses at a deposition or hearing and subpoena as duces tecum requiring the production of such books, records, and documents as may relate to any matter under inquiry before the Board.  Subpoenas and subpoenas duce tecum shall be issued in the same manner as stated by the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure.  The decision of the Chairman to issue or note [sic] to issue a subpoena may be overruled by a majority of the board.”

State law“The electoral board shall have the power to administer oaths and to subpoena and examine witnesses and, at the request of either party and only upon a vote by a majority of its members, may authorize the chair to issue subpoenas requiring the attendance of witnesses and subpoenas duces tecum requiring the production of such books, papers, records and documents as may be evidence of any matter under inquiry before the electoral board, in the same manner as witnesses are subpoenaed in the Circuit Court.”

We understand Esslinger did subpoena his witness to appear, however, there was no compliance with state law as opposing counsel was never provided a copy as required under the circuit court rules. Additionally, there was no proof of service on the subpoena produced.  Esslinger is running for Shelby County Board.


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