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Thursday, February 28, 2019

Court Rejects Objection to Candidate's Dual Nomination Papers

In a recent Illinois Appellate Court decision, the court considered a challenge to a candidate's nomination papers where that candidate had withdrawn previously filed papers and submitted a second set prior to the filing deadline. McCaskill v. Harvey MOEB.

A candidate originally circulated, and then filed, nomination papers to run as a Democrat for the office of 6th ward alderman on the first day of filing for the February primary election. After filing, he learned that the City does not hold partisan primaries, so he filed a second set of papers designating himself as a nonpartisan candidate for the same office. At the same time, he filed a document withdrawing his first candidate filing.

An objection was filed to challenge the candidate's nomination papers on 2 grounds: (1) that he was prohibited from filing 2 petitions for the same office in the same election and (2) he violated the "dual circulation" prohibition because he circulated petitions for both a partisan and nonpartisan candidate in the same election. 

A hearing was held before the City's electoral board, which overruled the objections and upheld his candidacy. That decision was appealed to the circuit court, which reversed, ordering that the candidate's name be removed from the ballot. That decision was also appealed, this time by the candidate, to the appellate court.

The appellate court rejected the objector's argument that the candidate filed multiple petitions for the same office, finding that section 10-6.2 of the Election Code states that if a candidate files multiple sets of nominating papers for the same office, he or she will be given the option to cancel the prior set of petitions, so long as that is done within the filing period. Since the objection did not challenge whether the candidate complied with this section, the court found that the electoral board properly denied the first objection.

The court also rejected the objector's "dual circulation" argument finding that it "makes absolutely no senses" in a non-partisan election. The purpose of this prohibition is to thwart political gamesmanship in partisan elections, which is not relevant in a non-partisan election. 

In short, the appellate court denied the objection, and ordered that the candidate's name be placed on the ballot.


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