Dietz and Wilke Campaign Signs are Misleading Voters

Campaign Signs for James Dietz and Terry Wilke are misrepresenting their true incumbency status

If you know who your current elected officials are, you may think that you missed an election based on some of the campaign signs showing up in the area. For example, Terry Wilke is NOT the Avon Township Supervisor and James (Jim) Dietz is NOT the President/Mayor of Round Lake. Yet both are asking to be “re-elected”.

Terry Wilke Campaign Sign
Terry Wilke Campaign Sign

Wilke is a current Lake County Board member (District 16) and is running for Avon Township Supervisor. His campaign signs and I suspect his mailers, suggest that he be “re-elected”. How do you “re-elect” someone who has never held the office for which they are seeking? It might be worth asking him about his signs at the upcoming Candidate Debate on Sunday. The only problem with that is he has elected not to participate. In fact, his “People Over Politics” running mates, who have contested races for Township Clerk and Township Highway Commissioner, have bailed out as well rather than field questions from the audience.

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James Dietz Campaign Sign
James Dietz Campaign Sign

Dietz is a former President (Mayor) of Round Lake but lost his re-election bid four years ago. Even if Dietz’ signs suggested “re-electing former” Mayor James Dietz they probably wouldn’t pass muster. More than likely his mailers will also be suggesting that he be “re-elected”.

We’re not talking about a couple of newbies to the campaign trail. No, these two candidates have run previous election campaigns and should be held to the highest ethics.

A number of States have laws governing the use of “re-elect”.

A recent candidate running for Sheriff had a criminal complaint filed against him due to the wording being used on his signs. Signs for Harold Nichols read “Nichols Sheriff” rather than “Nichols for Sheriff”.

A local County Commissioner who was no stranger to politics said that the wording was misleading, “You can’t do that. Whether you’re running for Governor, State Representative, Sheriff, or Dog Catcher it doesn’t matter. It’s illegal.”

Although this happened in Michigan last year, I’m sure that if the opponents of these two candidates investigated a bit further, they may find that Illinois has a similar election law on the books as follows.

“Any person who advertises or uses in any campaign material, including radio, television, newspapers, circulars, cards, or stationery, the words incumbent, re-elect, re-election, or otherwise indicates, represents, or gives the impression that a candidate for public office is the incumbent, when in fact the candidate is not the incumbent, is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable as provided in section 934.” (Michigan Campaign Law 168.944)

You are entitled to the truth when it comes to campaign advertising. Neither of these candidates are the incumbents of the office for which they seek and thus you wouldn’t be “re-electing” either one if you voted for them.

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First of all, let me make it clear that I do not live in the Village of Round Lake so I have no dog in this fight (election).

If you read the above article, you will NOT find anywhere where I accused James Dietz of any misdemeaners. I also CLEARLY indicated the Michigan law as an example of other States that ban the use of “re-elect” if you are NOT the incumbent. In fact, I even INCLUDED the specific Michigan law ID so the Dietz “campaign affiliate” didn’t have to look far to find the source. My response to a comment by “Jerry” included similar laws that exist in Texas, Oregon, and the Judicial system, just to name a few. In the article, I suggested that Dietz and Wilke’s opponents might want to look deeper into Illinois election laws if they were so inclined.

As to your article comment that “After the rebuttal was posted the post was removed and blocked from his site.” it was the commenter who deleted the comment, not me. In fact, I have a screenshot showing the ACTUAL comment made by Michael Blum which differs from what you wrote in your “Featured Article”.

This is the same Michael Blum who hosted a “Sour Grapes” website during the previous election and used a video clip from a village board meeting that I personally gave him, thinking he only wanted it because it included an apology from a Board member. This same Michael Blum, who you admit is one of your campaign affiliates, purchased the URL of your opponents slate (Progressive Round Lake) the DAY the Chicago Tribune mentioned their slate in a 12-23-16 article.

Would you call this ethical? What was the motivation for Michael Blum to purchase the domain name other than to play dirty politics? I’m glad that you admit that he is one of your campaign affiliates so that everyone who reads this can see how low your campaign stooped from the very beginning.

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8 Comments

  • Maybe if we get a new mayor he will approve businesses that will actually bring jobs to the city instead another car wash. Would also like to see the ice cream parlor at Rollins and lotus repainted and without the sideways cigarette ads on the roof. Such an eye sore!!

  • by Gene Carey

    Whether it’s a violation of Illinois election law is up to their opponents to investigate. I used (clearly) that other States such as Michigan bar candidates from using the term “re-elect” if they are not the incumbent since it is misleading.

    Texas is another State that bars the use as follows:
    II. Misrepresentation Of Office Title.
    A candidate may not represent that he or she holds an office that he or she does not hold at the time of the representation. If you are not the incumbent in the office you are seeking, you must make it clear that you are seeking election rather than reelection by using the word “for” to clarify that you don’t hold that office.

    Oregon has the following guideline when it comes to using “re-elect”
    There is no longer any election law (in Oregon) that specifically addresses the use of the term “re-elect.” It was found unconstitutional and was repealed in 1993. However, a candidate may not use the term “re-elect” – by itself or with other statements clearly intended to state incumbency – if the candidate is not the incumbent in the office and the statement is completely false.

    Even the Judicial Institute chimes in with the following for judges:
    MISREPRESENTATIONS ABOUT INCUMBENCY.
    The campaign materials of a non-judge candidate, a judge running for a different office, a part-time or temporary judge, or a former judge must clearly indicate that he or she is not the incumbent judge.
    A non-judge candidate’s campaign materials should use language such as “elect” or “for”
    (e.g., “Elect John Doe District Judge” or “John Doe for District Judge”) in lettering of sufficient size to be clearly visible to the public. Order of Private Reprimand (Kentucky
    Judicial Retirement and Removal Commission August 20, 1992). See also New Mexico
    Advisory Opinion 92-3 (the phrase “for judge” should be used after a non-incumbent
    candidate’s name and the “for” should be in the same or almost the same size type as the name and “judge”).
    A former judge may not use the title “judge” in campaign material unless the material
    makes clear that the judge is not currently a judge. New Mexico Advisory Opinion 92-3.

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