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HARRISBURG — Saline County Republican Chairman Robert Holmes and County Clerk Kim Buchanan were back in court Friday morning for a status hearing before Judge Mark Clarke to discuss the county electoral board’s decision on the eligibility of Danny Gibbs to run as a Democratic candidate for treasurer.

“We will hear the findings of Saline County electoral Board,” Clarke said.

On Aug. 31, Holmes, Saline County Republican chairman, filed an objection to Gibbs' eligibility because Gibbs voted a Republican ballot in the 2018 primary election. His objection was based on Illinois election law, which states an individual who votes on one party’s ballot in a primary cannot run as a candidate for a different party in the following general election — and the fact that the county electoral board did not meet when the objection was filed.

The electoral board consists of the county clerk, state’s attorney and circuit clerk, according to Illinois law. The county clerk is charged with convening the electoral board.

Holmes asked the judge to force Buchanan to convene a meeting of the electoral board to make a decision on the question of eligibility. On Oct. 5, Judge Mark Clarke asked the parties to agree to meet as an electoral board and offer a decision. He set Friday as the day to hear their decision.

Buchanan, State’s Attorney Jayson Clark and Circuit Clerk Randy Nyberg met Wednesday and Thursday to make a decision on Holmes’ objection to Gibbs’ candidacy. They could sustain the objection, meaning they agreed with it, or overrule it.

The electoral board found and decided as follows:

Candidate Danny Gibbs filed nomination papers Aug. 7 seeking to run for Saline County treasurer following the resignation of Natalie Brown Miller as Democratic candidate for that office.

Those papers included statement of candidacy, loyalty oath, resolution to fill a vacancy in nomination and statement of economic interests.

On Aug. 31, Robert Holmes filed his objection contesting the eligibility of Gibbs to run for treasurer. Parties and the electoral board agreed the objection was timely and filed in the proper form according to Illinois law.

The candidate voted the ballot of the Republican Party in the 2018 general election.

It is the decision of the electoral board that the objection should be sustained. They agreed that Gibbs was not eligible to run as a candidate for the Democratic Party in the 2018 general election.

Electoral board Chairman Kim Buchanan acknowledges that Illinois ILCS 10.5 Section 10-43 is applicable Illinois Law, but would not join the decision, according to the findings.

Attorney Samuel Beggs, representing Holmes, asked the court to require Buchanan to notify voters of the electoral board’s decision. Suggestions included placing signs in voting booths, including a note with specimen ballots and ballots, altering the ballot to state an objection to the candidacy of Gibbs was sustained or, in the case of his appeal, objection pending beside his name on the ballot and specimen ballot.

Judge Clarke asked Jayson Clark, acting as the attorney for Buchanan, and Samuel Beggs, attorney for Holmes, to come up with an agreement for notifying the voting public of the electoral board’s decision.

“If an order is filed, will you follow that order,” Clarke asked Buchanan.

“Absolutely, your honor,” Buchanan replied.

They agreed to Beggs’ request, and signed it on Friday afternoon. Gibbs has until Oct. 17 to file an appeal or judicial review.

While this case was being heard in Saline County Court, a public test of the voting machines and ballots was being performed in the courthouse by Governmental Business Systems (GBS), the vendor that provides the ballots.

The ballots for the county have been printed. Early and absentee voting is already underway.

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Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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