Sheriff Dart Sued in Federal Court (Chicago, IL) — Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart had a federal civil rights lawsuit filed against him today, one day ahead of the 2022 Midterm Elections. The lawsuit, filed by former Democratic candidate for Cook County Sheriff LaTonya Ruffin, destroys the statute which was utilized by Sheriff Dart’s campaign when they removed Ruffin from the ballot.
Sheriff Dart, along with the Illinois Board of Elections, Clerk Karen Yarborogh, State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx, Cook County Board of Elections member Iris Martinez, and others have been named in the suit.
At a press conference this morning at the Dirksen Federal Building, LaTonya Ruffin and her attorney, Edward Voci, spoke against the statute that was utilized in removing Ruffin from the ballot just days before the June Primary Election. Citing due process and first amendment rights, Voci stated, “There has been an attack on Democracy. The voters are being denied a choice, an opportunity to choose between candidates. And that is anti-democratic.” He continued, “This statue on which the election board bumped her from the ballot is two-hundred and six words in one sentence.”
The lawsuit states that the Name Designation Statute which was enforced to remove Ruffin from the ballot is, “…A two-hundred-seven word run-on sentence with intricate and vague requirements that allows for both spurious challenges to a candidate’s placement on the ballot and CCOEB interpretations that are arbitrary, capricious, partial, and anti-democracy.”
The lawsuit also states that Dart, Foxx, Yarborogh, and Martinez have conspired against Ruffin, detailing donations between Dart and Yarborogh. Voci described one such transaction: “…that statute [Name Designation Statute] was used to put her in front of an election board that ruled against her, bumped her off the ballot, and a little over a month later, the chair of that election board donated fifteen hundred dollars to Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart…it is hard not to infer that that bumping of the ballot was not bought.”
Ruffin and Voci are looking forward to a victory. The lawsuit demands a special primary and special general election, among other things, to rectify the injustices committed by the defendants.
Ruffin ended her press conference with a message: “Voters, I’m with you, all the way. We stand here together fighting for your rights because if we don’t stand for something, we fall for everything.”
Sheriff Dart Sued in Federal Court