Pekin mayoral candidate faces removal from ballot
PEKIN (25 News Now) - Three candidates have filed to become the new mayor of Pekin, but recent developments could mean one of them is eliminated before the ballots even open.
Public policy states every candidate running in a local race needs to file the proper paperwork and get it notarized before becoming an official candidate on the ballot. Those filings can then be pulled, reviewed, challenged by anyone. In this instance, objections were raised that parts of Cloyd’s paperwork weren’t completely filled in. She tells us she asked a staffer at the Tazewell County Clerk’s office if all the petition fields were needed for submission, and was told they were not.
Cloyd was first made aware of issues with her filings over the weekend, raised after they were pulled out for examination. This part of the process is typical, says Pekin Mayor Mark Luft, and is especially common for local elections. Now, she’ll need to make her case before a committee hearing that could decide whether or not her name will go on the ballot at all.
Now, Cloyd is getting help from legal counsel to defend her position.
“It’s about the process, and anyone can look at this situation and say this is simply not fair,” she says.
The electoral committee is made up of the mayor, city clerk, and longest standing council member. Committee Chair Luft calls it a matter of election integrity. In this case, he argues the packets need to be reviewed thoroughly before submission.
“It is up to the candidate to ensure that that process is done properly,” says Luft. “So if it’s not, there’s really only one person to blame.”
Cloyd says this is a retaliation for her attempts to advocate for change in the city.
“This is gamifying the system, you’re knocking out a candidate because you’re afraid of a candidate,” she says.
She and Luft have historically held conflicting opinions on the council, including the decision to terminate former City Manager Mark Rothert in October. But Luft says this is not a vendetta.
“It’s nothing against anybody personally. It’s a 100% protection of the process.”
With the help of legal counsel, Cloyd is looking to push past Friday’s results, whatever they may be.
“It’s been a rocky road, but it’s exciting because things are changing in Pekin,” she notes.
If the committee votes Cloyd’s petitions to be invalid, she can file an appeal in circuit court. She may also elect to file and run as a write-in candidate. At this time, other candidates include fellow council incumbent David Nutter and outgoing Tazewell County Treasurer Mary Burress. Luft is not running for reelection in this race, and has expressed support for Burress as his successor. The election is planned for April, with a February primary if there are more than three candidates.
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