50% Plus One
6:39 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Election Dispute Headed to Court

A legal group said it has filed a motion seeking to declare Steve Wailand the winner of the February 26 election in Macomb’s second ward.

General Counsel Diane Cohen of the Liberty Justice Center, which is representing Wailand pro bono, said the motion asks for a temporary restraining order.

“Essentially it would be a court order requiring the city and county officials to respect the outcome of the election and enforce Macomb’s municipal code,” Cohen said.

The McDonough County Courthouse
The McDonough County Courthouse
Credit Rich Egger

Cohen said the Center also filed a writ of mandamus, which asks the court to order the city and county officials to declare Wailand the winner.

It initially appeared Wailand defeated Kay Hill, 17 to 16, but County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes declared there was no winner because neither candidate received 50% of the vote plus one. She said that is how the city has instructed her to administer the election.

However, the phrase “50% plus one” does not appear in the city code, which simply states that the candidate receiving the majority of votes shall be elected.

City and county officials are not respecting the definition of majority that even the Illinois Supreme Court has recognized -Diane Cohen

She also said the Center has reached out to the city and county to ask about the origin of the “50% plus one” rule but no one could offer an explanation.

Cohen said a hearing is scheduled for 9:00 am Thursday, April 4, at the McDonough County Courthouse. She is hoping for a quick ruling, given Wailand and Hill are on the ballot for a run-off election on April 9.