Union County voters have no choice for commissioner - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Union County, IL

Union County voters have no choice for commissioner

Union County voters have no choice for commissioner
By: Carly O'Keefe

UNION COUNTY, Il - Voters in Union County, Illinois have one less candidate to vote for.  In the March primary, Anna Mayor Steve Hartline secured a spot on the democratic ticket for Union County commissioner.  With 61% of the vote, Hartline bumped incumbent Union County commissioner Jack Eddleman out of the running. Now Hartline has withdrawn from the race.

Hartline's withdrawal doesn't just leave voters without a democrat to vote for. Now, there is no county commissioner candidate on the ballot at all. Hartline withdrew from the race Tuesday after he learned that winning may mean breaking the law.

According to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel: "The Hatch Act applies to executive branch state and local employees who are principally employed in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by loans or grants made by the United States or a federal agency." The Hatch Act prohibits applicable employees from engaging in partisan politics. Hartline is employed by Choate Mental Health and Development Center in Anna which operates programs supported by federal dollars.

It's too late to put another candidate on the ballot and take Hartline's name off. But even if folks vote for him, Hartline can never take office as he has officially withdrawn. That leaves a vacancy on the Union County Board of Commissioners.

Another Union County resident could announce him or herself as a write-in candidate by October 31, and win the seat that way. Otherwise the county board will have to appoint someone to the open commissioner's seat.

The Hatch Act only prevents Hartline from taking part in partisan politics - meaning he cannot run as a democrat or republican for public office.  The Hatch Act does not prohibit him from taking part in non-partisan politics as he has in holding seats within Anna's City Government for the past 11 years.  Candidates are elected to the offices of mayor, city council and school board without political party affiliation.

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