On January 20th, after receiving news from a friend of a Special Township Meeting and reaching out to people involved, I was made aware of the content of former Clerk Kunde’s resignation letter. It was in this letter that I first learned that I had forgotten to file the receipt for my Statement of Economic Interest with the Township Office for my candidacy in the April Election. As the first paragraph of the letter states, I had filed my “Statement of Economic Interest, as a candidate, with the County Clerk’s Office on December 16th, 2020”, the same day that I filed my Petition packet with the Township. Of the other allegations made by former Clerk Kunde in her resignation letter, I have no first hand knowledge.
Whatever were the exact particulars that caused former Clerk Kunde to resign, the fact is that she resigned and that she failed to certify any candidates for the Township for the April 6th Election. On Thursday 21 January, I was the only member of the public in attendance at a Special Township meeting, called for the purpose of replacing long-time Township Clerk Lynne Kunde, who had resigned on January 13th. That is what led to the Thursday Special meeting, to fill the Clerk position in time to meet the January 28th deadline for certifying candidates on the April 6th Ballot.
In the approximately 24 hours between learning of my omission and the Thursday Special Meeting, I was in contact with a number of attorneys to discover my next course of action. In the course of working many elections over the past decade, I had learned of the legal principle that “access to a place on the ballot is a substantial right not lightly to be denied” (Welch v. Johnson) . The attorneys I contacted provided me the case law and their readings of it to support both this principle and the principle of substantial compliance. In Samuelson v. Cook County Officers Election Board the court held that “Substantial compliance with the Election Code is acceptable when the invalidating charge concerns a technical violation that does not affect the legislative intent to guarantee a fair and honest election. S.H.A. 10 ILCS 5/1–1 et seq.“ This case law aside, my petitions had not been challenged during the objection period proscribed by law, in the open, transparent legal process by which candidates normally answer any questions on the validity of their petitions.
I brought these pieces of case law in support of my being certified on the Ballot to the Special Meeting. I then summarized them in Public Comment and gave them to the Supervisor, for consideration of the Township Attorney when advising newly appointed Clerk Flavin in certifying the candidates to be on the ballot. After the meeting, I talked briefly with the Township Attorney, he assured me that he would take the material that I presented into account and advise Clerk Flavin in accordance with the law. On January 27th I received official notice that I would not be certified on the ballot and I appealed to the court to defend my right to access the ballot.
I went to court seeking justice, not only for myself but for the voters of DeKalb Township, in the end we were met with only the cold injustice of a rigid legal process. Rather than begin a costly appeal to a higher court, I am taking my appeal directly to you, the voters of DeKalb Township, the ultimate power in our electoral system. The voters deserve a fair election with a choice for DeKalb Township Supervisor, I am calling on all of you to make your voices heard.
My name is Jim Luebke, I am running as a Write-In for DeKalb Township Supervisor in the April 6th Election and I ask for your vote. To learn more and to support my candidacy please visit jimfordekalbtownship.com or jimfordekalbtownship on facebook. Together, we can restore our democracy.