Of all the ways to evaluate whether a candidate or referendum is eligible for the ballot, why does Illinois use local electoral boards? What is the basis for thinking that a triumvirate of the top elected, plus the clerk, plus a board member is the best venue for deciding a legal matter?

This system exists so that the people in power at the local level can remove candidates and referendums who challenge their power. Or if they can’t remove the candidates, they can cause challengers to pay legal bills that cut into the challenger’s ability to do direct mail and otherwise campaign.

The process is fundamentally corrupt. A less corrupt process might look something like this: 

Kevin Peppard has a question about Anthony Clark’s residency and sends it to the election authority, who then informs Anthony Clark who has the option of responding. The package is then sent to the Illinois Attorney General who applies case law and rules, without hearings and all the theatrics that lead to more billable hours than necessary.

In the Peppard vs. Clark case, the ruling would be easy for the Illinois AG (or other non-Oak Park body). Anthony Clark is clearly more a resident of Oak Park than anywhere else. Accepting Peppard’s challenge would have disqualified Anthony Clark from running anywhere with a specific residency requirement. Ergo, the challenge could not be sustained without jeopardizing Anthony Clark’s rights as a U.S. citizen.

The local electoral boards are a sweetheart deal for the local political establishment throughout Illinois. They are anti-democratic, but they have avoided the scrutiny of federal courts.

So Anthony Clark should be on the ballot. The Illinois General Assembly should get rid of local electoral boards.

And Oak Park needs to work on its racism. 

But that’s a whole other kettle of whitefish.

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