Mid-afternoon Thursday, Champaign County Clerk Aaron Ammons issued a statement in response to local Republicans’ request for an injunction. Not long after, the county GOP responded with a statement of its own.
Ammons’ statement: "For the last 80 years the local Republican Party has held the office of County Clerk and now, with a Democratic Clerk who is actively working to enfranchise eligible voters, the Republicans are desperately attempting to suppress the vote. They no longer have the ability to suppress votes of students and people of color, so they are implementing tactics from Donald Trump’s playbook.
"Instead of propagating the inaccurate and illegal claims of Trump, I suggest Mark Shelden, Stan Harper, and Dee Shonkwiler focus on why Republicans are losing race after race in Champaign County. Clearly, they have time on their hands and there are much more effective ways to use it, rather than lying to the voters of Champaign County.
"Over 50,000 people have already voted safely and securely in Champaign County and we are five days away from what is shaping up to be the largest voter turnout in the history of the County. For the last month the Clerk’s Office has had the pleasure of working with numerous Republican election judges and these individuals are dedicating their time and energy, in the middle of a pandemic, to make sure our democracy is fair, free, and accessible to all. The current county Republican Party is an embarrassment to their work and commitment."
Republicans’ statement: "Champaign County Republicans want a fair election where every citizen of the County has their voice heard.
"In order to have a fair election, the law provides for the monitoring of the election process by the citizens. In March, the County Clerk was found by the bipartisan State Board of Elections to have violated a number of provisions of the election code, including the tabulating of ballots early and in secret.
"For the fall election, the Clerk has refused numerous requests for documents and access to the voting process. For this reason, the Republican Party has been forced to go to court to protect the rights of the citizens.
"This issue can be resolved very simply by the County Clerk agreeing to comply with the election code."
URBANA — A group of Champaign County Republicans is asking a judge to force Democratic County Clerk Aaron Ammons to produce election-related materials they have sought.
The seven-page complaint for an injunction was filed late Wednesday morning by Decatur attorney Jerrold Stocks on behalf of the Champaign County Republican Central Committee; Roger Dee Shonkwiler, the Republican party chairman; Stanley Harper of Ogden, a District 3 Champaign County Board member running for re-election; and Jody Seibold, a voter from Sadorus.
Ammons is represented by Barb Mann and Matt Banach, assistant state’s attorneys in the civil division of Julia Rietz’s office.
Rietz declined to comment on the request, a copy of which her attorneys received only mid-afternoon Wednesday.
A hearing has not yet been scheduled. Judge Brett Olmstead normally hears such requests, but the state’s attorney’s office moved to substitute him off the case, as is their right.
Neither Ammons nor any of the four plaintiffs could be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon.
“When we have not had fully cooperative exchanges of information, we are wanting to assure everything is done according to the strict dictates of statute and that nobody ever has cause to question that it wasn’t done properly,” Stocks said.
In the complaint, Stocks alleges that Ammons mailed applications for ballots to some 146 people who the plaintiffs believe no longer meet Champaign County residency requirements.
They want a judge to order Ammons to provide immediate access to information his office has allegedly denied them, including:
- A list of all voters with their addresses to whom vote-by-mail ballots have been sent.
- A list of all voters with their addresses from whom vote-by-mail ballots have been received.
- A list of all voters with their addresses who were sent vote-by-mail applications.
- A list of all appointed election judges for the Nov. 3 election.
- An identification of all election judge vacancies existing 10 days prior to election day.
- A list of employees working the counting station.
- A list of election judges, “including any vacancies therein.”
- A list of procedures used to inactivate voters for the Nov. 3 election.
“Some of it is we want to make sure we don’t have a repeat of primary events,” Stocks said.
After the March primary, the Illinois State Board of Elections sent Ammons a letter admonishing him not to count any ballots mailed in early prior to the closing of polls on Election Day, as outlined in state law.
There was no indication that the counted ballot totals from the primary had been made public prior to the polls closing.
via The News-Gazette
October 29, 2020 at 05:07PM