MARION COUNTY — As residents of Centralia continue to wait for a judge’s final decision on who is the City’s rightful mayor, a similar case was already decided in Illinois nearly a decade ago.
Centralia officials vacated the April 2019 election of Bryan Kuder as mayor after then-City Manager Dan Ramey brought forward information indicating Kuder did not live within the city limits.
Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s eligibility for office was challenged on the basis of his lack of residency in Chicago for one year prior to the election and that case went before the courts.
The Board of Elections and the Cook County Circuit Court affirmed Emanuel’s eligibility but a divided Court of Appeals reversed the Circuit Court, holding on January 24, 2011, that residency for purposes of a candidate is different from residency for purposes of being a voter.
However, further appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court resulted in a unanimous decision reversing the Court of Appeals and affirming Emanuel’s eligibility.
The Supreme Court’s seven justices overturned the ruling of the appeals panel, though two of the justices issued their own reasoning for allowing Mr. Emanuel to run. In the majority’s opinion, which was written by Justice Robert R. Thomas, a Republican, the justices raised sharp questions about what the appellate court had concluded, suggesting that such issues of residency had essentially been settled in this state for 150 years.
The judge’s ruled: “…an individual’s residency is not abandoned, even though that individual may not sleep within the jurisdiction.”