Ousted Pekin mayoral hopeful claims political motivations led to electoral board action

Becky Cloyd and her attorney Thomas DeVore listen during Dec. 9 electoral board meeting.
Becky Cloyd and her attorney Thomas DeVore listen during Dec. 9 electoral board meeting.(25 News Now)
Published: Dec. 26, 2022 at 9:01 PM CST
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PEKIN (25 News Now) - Pekin mayoral candidate Becky Cloyd believes a decision by the city’s electoral board was politically motivated to remove her name from next April’s election ballot.

However, Mayor Mark Luft, who chairs the electoral board, said politics played no role in the decision.

Cloyd, currently a city council member, filed a complaint in Tazewell County Circuit Court, asking a judge to reverse the board’s action. A court hearing is scheduled for Jan. 5.

“Upon information and belief, it was politically motivated animus towards Cloyd that caused Mayor Luft to render such an arbitrary and capricious decision,” the complaint said.

The complaint was filed by Cloyd’s lawyer, former Illinois Attorney General candidate Thomas DeVore.

The electoral board removed Cloyd from the ballot on Dec. 9 because she did not complete paperwork on her nominating petitions.

DeVore claims in the court filing that Cloyd provided all of the required information in other parts of the petitions.

Luft denies decision to remove Cloyd from the ballot was political

Mayor Luft told 25 News Monday night that politics had nothing to do with the electoral board’s ruling, noting he’s not running for reelection as mayor, and that the two other electoral board members agreed he could be fair and impartial on the matter.

Luft said he’s not formally endorsing anyone for mayor, although he believes Tazewell County Treasurer Mary Burress is most qualified for the job. Pekin City Council member Dave Nutter is also running to lead the city.

The electoral board of consists of Luft, City Clerk Sue McMillan and city council member Lloyd Orrick.

The complaint alleges that an audio recording of the Dec. 9 electoral board meeting indicates McMillan wasn’t sure what she was voting on, “and it wasn’t until Chairman Luft mumbled words to her did she then vote to remove Cloyd from the ballot.”

Luft acknowledged there was a lot of communication among electoral board members because it was a first-of-its-kind hearing, but he denies trying to influence McMillan’s vote.