Election season starting up

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Later this year, six Monroe County offices are up for election. 

Voters will be tasked with deciding which candidate is most deserving of those offices. 

The primary elections take place June 28, with Nov. 8 being the general election. 

The offices of county clerk, sheriff, treasurer, assessor and one commissioner seat – that currently held by Vicki Koerber – will all be decided this election. The regional superintendent of schools, who serves both Monroe and Randolph counties, will also be up for vote. 

As these offices do not have term limits, all current office holders are eligible for re-election.

Monroe County Clerk Jonathan McLean, Monroe County Sheriff Neal Rohlfing, Monroe County Treasurer Kevin Koenigstein, Koerber and Regional Superintendent of Schools Kelton Davis all said they are running again. 

Monroe County Assessor Carl Wuertz did not respond when asked. 

March 7-14 is the key week for all prospective candidates, as this is the time in which they must turn in all required materials. They should visit McLean’s office prior to these dates to pick up packets.

“Individuals that are running for office or are running for precinct committee (positions) can come up to my office and get a petition packet. That’s what they would need in order to gather signatures and run for nomination under whatever party they would want to run under,” McLean explained. “They would have to go out and get signatures and then come back and file the petition with their statement of candidacy by March 14.” 

In addition to their position with signatures, prospective candidates must file their statement of candidacy, statement of economic interest (for county-level positions) and – should they choose to do so – loyalty oath by March 14. 

The number of signatures each candidate needs depends on how many votes the highest-voted candidate received in the last general election. This figure is then multiplied by .005 to yield the minimum amount of signatures candidates from each party need to be listed on the primary ballot. 

“So in our case (as the Republican Party), Dennis Knobloch was the highest vote getter in 2020, and so you take the number of votes he got and you multiply it by .005 to get the minimum amount of signatures. If it’s a decimal, you just round up to the nearest whole number,” McLean said. 

He cautioned prospective candidates should aim for well over the minimum amount. 

“You never want to get the minimum because there’s always the chance that somebody signed and they didn’t live in the county or maybe they signed and they thought they were a registered voter and they weren’t,” McLean said. 

After the county clerk’s office receives each candidate’s materials, there is a five-day objection period. Anybody who lives in the political jurisdiction of each office may file an objection should the respective candidate(s) not meet minimum requirements to be on the ballot – including residency stipulations and signature requirements.

For all positions, candidates must be over 18, be residents in their jurisdiction for at least one year, be a U.S. citizen and a registered voter in Monroe County.

Candidates for assessor must be a certified Illinois assessing official. 

For the 2022 election, candidates for sheriff in Illinois must meet a new requirement: they “must complete the minimum standards Basic Law Enforcement Officers Training Course as prescribed by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board,” McLean explained. 

He believes this new requirement is in effort to ensure candidates have a law enforcement background. 

Historically, the sheriff’s position was a lot more politically based, as the sheriff was a politician that had a lot of government responsibilities. For example, at one point in time the sheriff was in charge of jailing those who did not pay their taxes, McLean said. 

“I think that anyone who has been a police officer in recent years already has it, but before this year, anyone could run for sheriff. You did not have to be a police officer to run for sheriff,” McLean said. 

An individual from each political party is tasked with verifying information their candidates submitted, McLean said. After a candidate makes it through with no objections, they are certified to be on the June 28 primary ballot. 

“The primary is just the first step of the process. The primaries are when the parties get to decide who their candidates will be, and then after the primary, then you go to the general election and run in the general,” McLean explained. 

In addition to these county positions, the statewide offices of governor, attorney general, secretary of state, comptroller, treasurer, state senate and state representative are up for election in Illinois. 

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