The head of the Kendall County Democratic Party has accused the Kendall County Republican Party of violating state election law after a voter registration sign was displayed at a GOP tent during a rally earlier this month.
During a June 5 Yorkville rally organized by conservative activists and sponsored by the county Republican Party, the GOP tent featured a sign reading “register to vote here.” Under Illinois election law, political parties “must not conduct voter registration activities at political functions.”
“Registering voters is supposed to be a non-partisan procedure with no electioneering involved,” said Julie Gondar, chairman of the Kendall County Democratic Party. Gondar added that non-partisan groups are often tasked with registering voters because of the statute.
“If we are canvassing as Dems for a candidate and find an unregistered voter, we can direct people to the voter registration website,” she said. “However, proper procedure is to step off property, cover up or remove any campaign or party affiliation stickers, shirts, hats etc.”
In response, county GOP chairman Jim Marter insisted that organizers of the event, independent of the party, could have been registering voters at the event.
“I did not particular see that happening but I won’t say someone wasn’t doing that,” Marter said. “There were different groups there doing different things. I’m not aware of who it was.”
County Clerk Debbie Gillette, who oversees county elections, said her office would need to receive a formal complaint in order to investigate the matter. Gillette added that a lawyer would need to review the event to see if it met the statute’s threshold.
“I would need all the evidence and proof and all of that filed in order to look into it,” she said.
While Gondar said she does not plan to file a complaint at this time, she hopes to point out the “hypocrisy.”
“It’s surprising to me to see the Kendall GOP make a misstep like this seeing as they were so concerned about a campaign sign that was mistakenly attached to a fence in Oswego during the 2020 campaign cycle,” Gondar said, referring to GOP complaints about a campaign sign for Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, last year.