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Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Law Moves Last Day for Candidate Petition Filing to December 26th

Early this afternoon, Senate Bill 3338 was passed by both houses of the General Assembly.  When signed by Governor Quinn, this law, which becomes effective immediately, amends Section 1-4 of the Election Code to specify that, for the 2013 consolidated election period, local election officials have until December 26th to accept candidates’ petitions or certificates of nomination. This law will provide relief to municipal clerks, school board secretaries, township clerks, park district and library secretaries and other local election officials who were previously required to accept candidate petitions until 5:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve, regardless of whether their respective governmental offices were open or not.  Under this amendment, all local governments must accept candidate petitions until December 26, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.  The law does not require governments to be open all day on December 26, 2012, but they are required to remain open for at least some time period  until 5:00 p.m.  (for example, from 3:00 p.m to 5:00 p.m.).  Under this law, public bodies have no discretion to refuse to accept petitions on December 26th.  The deadline is extended for everyone. 

Our advice to local election officials is to issue a press release specifying the location, dates and hours that petitions will be accepted, as well as posting a notice of this information where they usually post this information.  In addition, we strongly encourage local election officials to provide all known candidates who will be filing for the consolidated elections with actual notice of the change in the filing periods.  While none of these measures are required by the new law, we believe that greater dissemination of this information will result in less confusion to candidates. 

The other impact of this new law is that it will extend the deadline for filing objections, which is now five business days from December 26th.  The last day for filing objections may vary for different public bodies depending on whether or not they are open for at least 7 hours on New Years Eve.  We suggest that you calculate the last day for filing objections with your public body and also widely publicize that date. 

For additional information regarding this new law, please contact Keri-Lyn J. Krafthefer at 312-604-9126.

UPDATED 12/3/2012 - Governor Quinn signed the bill as of 12/3/2012.


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