Tri States Public Radio Staff
50% Plus One
Sat March 23, 2013
Legal Assistance for Macomb Candidate
Legal action is now possible over the result of the second ward alderman election in Macomb.
Candidate Steve Wailand said the Liberty Justice Center read about the disputed outcome and agreed to represent him pro bono. Wailand has said he does not have enough money to hire an attorney because he is a college student. He’s a junior at Western Illinois University, where he’s studying chemistry with an emphasis on pharmacy.
Wailand said the Center sent a letter to the county and city clerks asking them to follow the municipal code and award him the election. Wailand said there has been no response so the Center plans to file a writ of mandamus, which means it will be asking the courts to order the clerks to perform their statutory duties.
“I’ve been trying every day since February 27 (the day after the election) to figure things out. Unfortunately we feel that it’s had to come to this,” Wailand said.
On election night, it appeared Wailand defeated incumbent Kay Hill, 17 – 16, in a two-person contest.
But County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes ruled there should be a run-off election because neither candidate received 50% of the vote plus one.
However, the “50% plus one” rule appears nowhere in the city’s municipal code. In addition, no one is willing to explain how you have a run-off election when there were just two candidates to begin with.
“(The Liberty Justice Center) is flabbergasted, just like myself. Just like everybody that I’ve been able to talk to and discuss this with,” Wailand said.
“They have no idea why the election officials have decided what they’ve decided.”
Wailand addressed the city council about the matter on March 18. The agenda for the March 25 committee of the whole meeting indicates the city will issue a response. The meeting begins at 5:00 pm at City Hall.
50% Plus One
Primary on February 26