Controversy about Urbana ballots results in lottery

By Kate Szyszka

After controversy regarding the placement of names on the ballots for next week’s Urbana mayoral election, the order of the names was selected in a lottery Wednesday afternoon.

Urbana Chief of Police, Mike Bily, drew the candidates’ names in the lottery.

The results put Republican candidate, Rex Bradfield, at the top of the ballot, followed by the Democratic incumbent Laurel Prussing as and then the Green Party candidate Durl Kruse.

“The fact that I ended up first in the draw is very fortunate,” Bradfield said of the ballot order. “Some believe that is an advantage, but I think all that is important is that the ballot is corrected according to the law.”

According to state law, “the order in which each party appears on the Consolidated Election ballot id determined by a public lottery prior to the canvass and proclamation of the results of the primary.”

The city of Urbana did not hold a primary this year, and the ballots were created without holding a lottery.

“The city clerk did it wrong because the law was unclear,” Prussing said. “The clerk was told to do in the order in which people filed.”

Champaign County Clerk Mark Shelden said in a statement that he agreed to print new ballots if he received the proper certification.

“The later we waited to make any changes, the more expensive it would become,” Shelden said in his statement. “I specifically mentioned our statutory requirement to publish a specimen ballot.”

In his statement, Shelden said that after not hearing from the city clerk for several days about whether or not a lottery would be held, he called the city clerk and learned that the decision had been made not to conduct a lottery.

“The lottery should be done by the county clerk not the city clerk,” Prussing said in response to Shelden’s statement. “As soon as he heard about this he should have looked into it and taken action but he didn’t do anything.”

New ballots must now be created with the order selected in the lottery. These new ballots could accrue costs up to $15,000.

“The city is not going to pay for it,” Prussing said. “I think he [Shelden] should personally pay for it.”

Prussing is not concerned with her placement on the ballot.

“I think this was all a political stunt,” she said. “My campaign does not depend on my placement.”