Tri States Public Radio Staff
Mon March 18, 2013
Macomb Election Controversy Continues
Macomb city council candidate Steve Wailand told aldermen Monday night that he’s still trying to get some answers about the February election results.
It appeared Wailand defeated incumbent Kay Hill for second ward alderman, 17 – 16, but County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes ruled there would be a run-off election because neither candidate received 50% of the vote plus one.
DeJaynes said she is simply following the rules given to her by the city, while city leaders have said it’s up to the county clerk to certify election results.
“I feel the flip-flopping around of who is in charge of these procedures is beyond aggravating,” Wailand said.
“Everybody I’ve talked to – I’m just not sure where these rules come from.”
The “50% plus one” rule does not appear in the city code, which simply states that the candidate receiving the majority of votes shall be declared elected. It does not define majority.
“I feel America is about free and fair elections, and these phantom procedures of the municipal code violated the Equal Protections statute of the 14th Amendment,” Wailand said.
Wailand is a student at Western Illinois University and said he cannot afford an attorney. He said the Fair Election Legal Network is trying to help him find a lawyer willing to take the case pro bono.
Meanwhile, Mayor Mike Inman said the city could avoid this type of situation by doing away with its February election. However, he will wait before suggesting the idea to the city council.
“I think it would be prudent to let this election dust settle and then undertake that discussion,” said Inman.
Inman said taxpayers would save money because Macomb is the only city in the county that holds a February election. All other municipal elections take place in April, including Macomb’s supplementary election, which is commonly referred to as a run-off election.
Inman is not sure if there is enough support on the city council to make the change. He said the idea was also raised four years ago but it didn’t gain any traction.
50% Plus One