DANVILLE – A Vermilion County Circuit Court judicial review ruling on the Danville Election Commission’s decision in the Ward 2 alderman race means voters in the ward still have two candidates to choose from in the April election.
Judge Derek J. Girton Thursday afternoon ruled that the election commission’s board of commissioners’ decision stands.
The election commission board last month ruled against Ward 2 Alderman candidate Jerry Hawker’s filed objection to Ward 2 Alderman Rick Strebing’s election petition paperwork not being dated and fastened correctly. Hawker was trying to remove Strebing’s name from the election ballot claiming Strebing didn’t follow election laws.
“I don’t see where there is a failure to substantially comply,” Girton said.
He said the date on the forms turns out is correct because there is no primary needed.
Also, Girton said the binder clip used to fasten Strebing’s four pages of election petitions is sufficient. If it were hundreds of papers, such as a candidate running in a Cook County election, that would have been different and could involve the possibility of tampering.
Girton also said Hawker and his attorney, Eric Eves with Acton & Snyder, were essentially asking Girton to decide the election instead of Ward 2 voters.
He added that case law says the petitions have to be substantially in compliance.
Prior to Girton’s ruling, the board of commissioners’ attorney Chuck Devens said “this is much ado about nothing, Your Honor.”
Devens stated the binding clip can’t be removed and the date was when the general election is to be conducted.
Hawker’s attorney, Eric Eves with Acton & Snyder, again went through case law and said the possible primary date and proper fastening of petitions are mandatory requirements of the election code.
Eves also said no record or testimony under oath were taken and he was not properly notified through a correct email for the Danville Election Commission’s reconvened hearing for the board’s December decision. Hawker was there alone for the board’s decision.
Eves said a written decision of the board’s findings also didn’t happen.
Strebing has said Danville Election Commission staff told him to put the general election April 2 date on his petitions.
The board of commissioners last month ruled the date was substantially in compliance with election laws regarding filing to run for office.
Danville Election Commission Executive Director Sandy Delhaye also then said she’d put a paper clip on Strebing’s paperwork due to Strebing wanting a copy of them.
Strebing had sufficient paperwork binding according to state law, the board of commissioners said.