Could questions about U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider's residency knock him off the ballot?
Questions about U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider's residency could knock him off the ballot this year.
In an objection filed Monday with the Illinois State Board of Elections, two Lake Forest residents claim Schneider doesn't live at the Highland Park address he listed as his home on nominating petition sheets and a statement of candidacy.
Those documents were submitted to the election board March 7 to ensure Schneider appears on the June 28 primary ballot for his 10th District seat.
Objectors Alan R. Palmer and Laura La Barbera also claim in their complaint that Highland Park hasn't issued an occupancy certificate for the house, which is newly built. A city building department employee on Tuesday said a temporary certificate had been issued for the house, but she didn't recall when.
Palmer and La Barbera are asking Schneider's candidate documents be ruled invalid and for him to be knocked off the primary ballot. Neither could be reached for comment.
Schneider, a Democrat who has lived in Deerfield during his entire congressional career, moved earlier this year to a house he and his wife had built in Highland Park, campaign spokesman Matt Fried said Monday after the objection was filed. The couple sold their Deerfield home in January, he said.
Additionally, Schneider registered to vote using the Highland Park address in January, the Lake County clerk's office confirmed.
The house at that address, however, doesn't appear lived in. The driveway isn't finished, there's no grass where the front lawn should be, a large trash container sits on the driveway blocking the garage doors and construction debris is visible outside.
In a statement issued Tuesday afternoon, Schneider said the home "is now complete" and that he and his wife are in the process of moving to Highland Park.
When asked where the Schneiders have been sleeping since the Deerfield house was sold, Fried refused to answer.
"We do not feel there's a discrepancy," Fried said. "Moves are messy."
Joe Severino, the Lake Forest Republican running for the 10th District seat, criticized Schneider about his residency and candidate paperwork.
"If he cannot even follow the basic laws to get on the ballot as a qualified candidate, how can the public expect him to act honorably?" Severino said in a news release.
The elections board will meet next week to assign this and other petition objections to hearing officers.
Residency is a frequent subject of objections, board spokesman Matt Dietrich said.
Schneider is in his fourth term serving the 10th District, which includes parts of Cook, Lake and McHenry counties. His official website and his campaign website identify him and his wife as Deerfield residents.
Schneider's candidate statement, a copy of which was acquired by the Daily Herald, includes the Highland Park address in two places. It was signed by the congressman, notarized and dated March 4.
The Highland Park address also appears atop each of Schneider's petition pages as part of the printed form. They were signed by the people who gathered the signatures and notarized between January and March.
Schneider said he purchased the Highland Park property in 2019. He had a house there razed, and a new one with a more contemporary design was built.
Neighbors on Tuesday said they don't believe anyone has moved in -- although they said they have seen Schneider and his car at the house.
In his statement, Schneider said construction took longer than expected because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the supply issues it caused. Schneider said he and his wife "look forward to welcoming family and friends to our new home for years to come, while also continuing to represent the good people of Illinois 10th Congressional District."
Severino said the public deserves answers to the questions about Schneider's residency.
"There must be accountability here," he said.
The state elections board will meet publicly at 10:30 a.m. March 29, in Chicago and Springfield. Participation in the meeting also is possible using Zoom.
If election officials uphold the objections, Democratic Party leaders can choose a nominee for the race before the Nov. 8 general election.
Schneider, hypothetically, would be eligible.