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Monday, March 14, 2016

Candidate Off Ballot Where Circulator's Name and Signature on Nominating Petitions Do Not Match

It's election season, or as some call it, the silly season, meaning lots of political ads, political signs, and court challenges. Today's case deals with a challenge to a candidate's petition for nomination based on an alleged failure to comply with the Election Code requirement that each nomination page of signatures contain a circulator's signature.

In Schwartz v. Kinney, 2016 IL App (3d) 160021, objectors brought an election challenge to the candidacy of Jack Schwartz, candidate for Rock Island County State's Attorney. The basis for the challenge was that the circulator's signature on certain nomination pages did not match the typed name in the circulator affidavit. Specifically, on some of the nomination pages, The typed name of Jack Schwartz was identified as the circulator, but his wife, Amy Schwartz, actually signed the circulator's affidavit. 

The objection was first heard by the Rock Island electoral board, which heard testimony from the candidate and his wife on the issue. They both admitted that although Jack was listed as the circulator, Amy was the one who signed the circulator affidavit. They argued, however, that because they were both present for the signing of the nomination pages, there was "substantial compliance" with the Election Code. 

The electoral board ruled in favor of the objection, finding the nomination pages where Amy signed instead of Jack to be invalid. As a result, Jack no longer had enough signatures to be placed on the ballot.  

On appeal, the appellate court upheld the electoral board's ruling, finding that Jack did not comply with the Election Code because the name of the circulator and the signature of the circulator did not match. The court also rejected the candidate's argument that they were "co-circulators" finding no language in the Election Code to allow such a practice.

Post Authored by Julie Tappendorf


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