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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Court finds Minor Defects in Statements of Economic Interests Not Enough to Invalidate Candidacy

An Illinois appellate court recently upheld a circuit court ruling regarding the Election Code, finding that minor defects in a candidate’s statement of economic interest do not invalidate candidacy. Guerrero v. Municipal Officers Electoral Board of the Village of Franklin Park, 2017 IL App (1st) 170486 (May 16, 2017), 

Certain candidates seeking to run in the April 4, 2017 municipal election filed various paperwork to run for office, including statements of economic interest.  Objections were filed to these candidates nominating petitions alleging that the statements of economic interest were deficient because they failed to 1) state the municipality in which they sought office, 2) list their respective addresses, and 3) list the date.  The matter was first heard by the local electoral board, which agreed with the objectors and found that the candidate’s names should not appear on the ballot.  However, the circuit court disagreed with the electoral board, ordering that the candidates’ names appear on the ballot. 

The appellate court agreed with the circuit court, finding no defect in any of the nominating papers, only in the statements of economic interests. The court addressed the issue of whether the nominating papers were invalid because the disclosure statements failed to list the unit of government or the date. After a review of the record, the court found these errors to be minor and insufficient to invalidate the nominating papers.  The court found that these small defects in the statements of economic interests were outweighed by the public interest in ballot access.

While the court found these defects to be minor and refused to invalidate the candidacy, candidates should still be mindful to avoid even minor defects in their nominating papers.  

Post Authored by Erin Pell, Ancel Glink


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