Three Champaign County Board candidacies at stake, democrats say panel is biased
Changes could be coming to November's ballot for Champaign County voters.
An electoral board is determining whether objections to three candidates were filled on time—ultimately determining if they can run or not.
There are three candidates in question: one republican and two democrats.
But democrats said the electoral board making the decision is biased, since the county clerk, who is on the board, endorsed one of the candidates.
The hearing started when democrats say they discovered a candidate who voted for their party in the March election and then filed for a republican position for November.
Something election code says you can't do.
“You don't want to see a huge turnout, let’s say, for a republican vote for March and then turn around and all of a sudden it is more heavily democratic," said Josh Mirowski, democratic precinct committeeman for precinct 30 in Champaign County.
So, the democrats filed an objection against republican PJ Trautman, but then, they said a bunch of other objections were filed against their candidates, including Chris Stohr and Charles Young.
“Issues with other candidates came about to make the case a lot more murky than what is should be," Mirowski said.
All leading up to Wednesday's hearing, where the only decision made was that Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten will stay on the electoral board.
“Election law is enormously complicated, and sometimes confusing, but in this case, it is pretty clear," Hulten said.
But others say it's not so clear but in fact unfair.
“One of the candidates involved in one of these objections is a friend of mine and I am supporting him,” Hulten said. “That doesn't change any of the questions of statute or case law that are going to decide this objection."
But Aaron Ammons, who is running for Hulten's position, said county clerks shouldn't endorse candidates.
“I don't think that is a fair and impartial process,” Ammons said. “It is clear that he has a bias and conflict of interest."
At Wednesday's hearing, the board did not discuss any details about the three objections. If it determined the objections were filed on time, then the board will dive into them.
That all has to be straightened out before a decision is made about the three candidates.