GOP and Green Mayoral Candidates Go to Court to Seek Ballot Lottery in Urbana Election
The Republican and Green Party candidates for Urbana Mayor are suing the current mayor and city clerk, over the failure to hold a lottery to determine which party shows up first on the April 7th ballot.
Right now, Democrats, including incumbent Mayor Laurel Prussing, will be listed at the top of the ballot in Urbana in the April election. But Green Party candidate Durl Kruse and Republican Rex Bradfield say state election law requires a lottery to determine the order in which candidates are listed by party. Urbana officials admit no lottery was held for this election. And the attorney for Kruse and Bradfield, Bob Auler, says Urbana City Clerk Phyllis Clark failed to hold ballot lotteries in at least two previous elections. Auler says Democrats have been listed at the top of the ballot in the four previous elections held in Urbana under Clark, who is herself a Democrat. "We think that's just kind of funny", says Auler.
Kruse and Bradfield cite studies that show that the candidate listed at the top of the ballot typically gets more votes than if they were listed further down. They say that's why the state requires a lottery to determine ballot positions.
The motion filed in Champaign County Circuit Court on Thursday seeks a temporary restraining order requiring Urbana officials to hold a ballot lottery. The chairs of the Republican and Green Parties in Champaign County have added their names to the complaint. Kruse says Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden has told them that the county would pick up the expense of reprinting ballots and resetting election equipment, if the results of the lottery required it.
Calls to Urbana city officials Thursday have not yet been returned.