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A man who died July 1 is on the ballot for Rock Island County Board of Supervisors
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A man who died July 1 is on the ballot for Rock Island County Board of Supervisors

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Edward Michael Lee Clark

The name of a man who died July 1 is on the ballot for the Rock Island County Board.

Edward "Mickey" Clark, 52, passed away unexpectedly in Iowa City but had no opponent in the March primary, and he had filed the necessary paperwork to run for the District 17 seat on the county board as a Republican in the Nov. 3 general election. He was to challenge incumbent Democrat Edwin Langdon Jr.

Nick Camlin, chief deputy in the Rock Island County Clerk's office, said Wednesday that his office asked the State's Attorney's office for a legal opinion on how to properly proceed with the printing of the ballots after Clark died.

"Only the (Republican) party could have removed the name and replaced him with another candidate," Camlin said, adding that the clerk's office lacks the authority to remove the name of a legitimate candidate, even if the person is deceased.

When county Republicans failed to certify a new candidate by the late-August deadline, he said, Clark's name was printed on the ballot.

County Republican Chairman Drue Mielke said he was surprised to see Clark's name appear.

"Obviously, we didn't file anyone (as a replacement)," he said. "I thought, if we didn't find a candidate, they would remove it. Apparently, I was wrong."

As Mielke understood the process, he said, if Clark had passed after the ballot was printed, the party could name his replacement in the event he wins the race.

But Camlin said the legal opinion indicates the timing of Clark's passing doesn't affect the requirement that a Republican be appointed to fill the vacant seat in the event Clark wins. The difference, he said, is the county board chairman would appoint the Republican candidate, rather than the party choosing the individual.

"Richard Brunk (board chairman) would no doubt consult the party on a candidate, but there is no legal requirement for him to do so," Camlin said.

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