Publicly-owned vans for election permitted

Using publicly-owned vehicles to transport public housing residents to election polls is permitted if electioneering does not take place in connection with the vehicles. This is the legal opinion issued by Gary Kovanda, Winnebago County deputy state’s attorney in response to inquiries from The Rock River Times about the April 5 Rockford mayoral election.

During the morning hours of election day, complaints were lodged with local media that raised questions about the use of Rockford Housing Authority vans to transport public housing residents to the polls (see April 6 article “RHA faces election controversy”). Kovanda said such use of taxpayer-owned vehicles is permissible if electioneering was not connected with the vans.

A spokesman for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said their office could not issue an official opinion about the issue. However, a state government source supported Kovanda’s interpretation of the law.

From the May 18-24, 2005, issue

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