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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Write-In Candidate Loses Appeal

In Illinois, to run as a write-in candidate in a local election, the candidate must file a written declaration of intent with the proper election authority. A candidate for the office of commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) filed his declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate with the Cook County Clerk. He did not file his declaration with the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners (Board), however. Because of that, he was notified by the Board that his name would not be printed on the ballot at the March election.

The candidate sued, claiming he complied with the requirements of Illinois statutes by filing his declaration with the County Clerk. Both the circuit court and the appellate court disagreed, and ruled against the candidate. The appellate court agreed with the Board that section 17-16.1 of the Election Code requires that write-in declarations of intent be filed with "the property election authority or authorities." (emphasis added). In this case, that means that the declaration had to be filed with both election authorities (Cook County which is the election authority for areas outside of Chicago and the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners which is the election authority for Chicago). Since the candidate only filed the declaration with one election authority and not both authorities, any write-in votes for the candidate will not be counted.

You can read the case here: Cook v. Orr

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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