Election Board reprimands former Lowell councilman
By Rich Bird Post-Tribune correspondent July 17, 2012 3:34PM
Updated: July 19, 2012 9:42AM
CROWN POINT — Eight months after former Lowell Town Councilman David Gard lost his re-election bid, his performance at the polls — one in particular — has resulted in a public reprimand from county election officials.
On Tuesday, the Lake County Board of Elections and Registration voted unanimously to reprimand Gard on the charge of electioneering.
At the board’s April 17 meeting, Gard admitted that he wore a shirt bearing the message: “Vote for Truth — Vote for David Gard” when he entered his polling place at Lowell Church of Christ on Election Day.
At the time, the board did not take any action; however, on Tuesday, the board re-opened the complaint, brought by Dan Blankenship, chairman of the Tri-Creek Republican Committee, for a final resolution.
According to board attorney James Wieser, the reprimand was the least severe action available to the board.
“Typically the choices are a reprimand, a public reprimand, a censure — which would be stronger, and that’s generally when a person is still involved, but not always — a referral to the prosecutor for a civil suit, and the alternative for assessing a fine, which is relatively new in the statute,” Wieser said.
The board also addressed a second outstanding complaint, also filed by Blankenship, regarding Gard’s failure to report a financial expenditure for campaign advertisements. Specifically, he failed to disclose the source of funding for a May 2011 advertisement in the Lowell Tribune and a mailer that circulated in the town prior to the election, both of which supported his candidacy.
Gard also admitted his failure in April, and while he has since paid a $200 fine to the county, as well as disbanded his campaign committee, he had not, as of Tuesday’s meeting, filed an amended campaign finance report to make the disclosure public.
Board chairman Kevin Smith asked that the matter be set aside until the board’s next meeting on Aug. 28, to “give him a little bit of time.” No vote was taken on the request.