In campaign free zones, campaign laws are very strict to prevent undue influence on voters. In spite of this, candidates violate this law every day, all over the country. Those who violate the law must be held accountable. There have been allegations made in the blue suburban county of Will County, Illinois, as reports come in nationwide.
County Treasurer, Tim Brophy, allegedly committed electioneering inside of the Will County Clerk’s office by displaying his 6 foot banners within 20 feet of voting booths. According to Section 10 ILCS – 5/29, the Illinois state law on electioneering states that campaign material must be 100 feet away from the poll’s doors.
Similar actions have been deemed illegal in many jurisdictions in Illinois and around the United States, as it persuades voters by giving a last second impression of who to vote for.
On the front door of the building, a sign clearly states that electioneering is prohibited within the building, and all campaign materials must be removed. Before entering the building, all buttons, shirts, and other attire of a political nature must be removed.
Previously reported by the Southland Journal is a press release from Will County Clerk candidate, Gretchen Fritz, which similarly accused the Will County Clerk, Lauren Staley Ferry, of electioneering herself; for posting materials that had her name and face inside of the “campaign free zone”. Republican candidate Gretchen Fritz made an official objection on Friday, October 14.
Fritz stated that she was completely disregarded by Deputy County Clerk Charles Pelkie. County Clerk Staley Ferry spoke with Fritz about the matter, but Staley Ferry made it clear that she believed she was not violating the prohibition against electioneering in polling places.
It was subsequently discovered that Will County Clerk Lauren Staley Ferry had removed all of the signage and printed materials that had her name emblazoned on them. A similar complaint has been reportedly filed with the county clerk’s office regarding the signage for Will County Treasurer Tim Brophy. As of 11/2/2022, his alleged campaign material is still up and visible. It is currently unclear whether or not the signage remains.
To report this election code violation inside of Will county, Illinois: Please contact the Will County Clerk’s office at https://www.willcountyclerk.gov/ or call 815-740-4615 for the main line.
It is shocking and alarming that candidates would violate the campaign free zone law and attempt to sway votes through electioneering. This type of election interference cannot be tolerated and must be reported. It is vital that we maintain the integrity of our elections, and that starts with holding candidates accountable for their actions. I urge anyone who witnesses a candidate violating the campaign free zone law to report it immediately. We cannot allow our elections to be undermined by those who would flout the law and attempt to gain an unfair advantage. Only by working together can we ensure that our elections are free and fair.
We asked Raj Pillai, the opponent of Tim Brophy, for comment on his opponent’s actions, but he has not yet responded.