County to hold emergency election hearing

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CHAMPAIGN COUNTY (WCIA) — An emergency hearing has been called for Wednesday morning.

The Champaign County Clerk’s Office said John Bambenek filed to be a write-in candidate for county treasurer on the March ballot, but missed the deadline per Illinois Election Code and is now challenging the law. The clerk’s office said it is coordinating with the State Board of Elections and State’s Attorney’s Office.

This comes after Champaign County Treasurer Laurel Prussing announced she would be resigning, effective January 31. Prussing had been elected to a four-year term in office in 2018.

County board chair Giraldo Rosales declared the position vacant at the January 14 board hearing, kicking off the process for appointing a treasurer. Once Prussing’s resignation is official on February 1, Rosales said he would have 60 days to find a replacement.

Bambenek told WCIA he requested the hearing because he believes the position should be on the March primary ballot.

State law requires a write-in candidate must declare intent to run no later than 61 days before the election. The county board declared the position vacant with 63 days left before the election, and Bambenek said he filed the very next day. However, current law also allows the county board to choose its nominee. According to the election code, because the registration happened after December 2nd, the treasurer’s office will not appear on the primary ballot in March.

He called the situation an “unconstitutional deprivation of voter rights.”

WCIA reached out to the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s office. They said they did not have a statement at this time.

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