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Thursday, February 20, 2020

Candidate Removed From Ballot for Using Maiden Surname

As we get closer to the March primary in Illinois, we are starting to see a few more election-related cases. One of these cases related to a challenge to a candidate's petitions to be included on the ballot for the office of circuit court judge in Cook County that was decided last week. Oberholtzer v. Cook County Officers Electoral Board, et al.

Caroline Patricia Jamieson filed nominating papers to run as a candidate for the office of circuit court judge. An objection was filed against her nominating papers on the basis that the candidate failed to disclose on her nominating papers that she had changed her name in the past 3 years. The Cook County Electoral Board held a hearing and rejected the objection, finding that the candidate's nominating papers were valid. The objector appealed, and ordered the candidate's name be removed from the ballot, leading to another appeal, this time by the candidate.

The court noted that the Election Code requires the candidate to use his or her given name and surname. In analyzing whether the candidate complied with that statute, the appellate court reviewed the evidence submitted at the Electoral Board hearing. First, the court found that the objector had submitted evidence that the candidate was commonly known by her married surname (Golden) rather than her maiden name (Jamieson) that she used on her nominating petitions. Second, the court found that the candidate was registered to practice law under her married name (Golden). Third, the court found that the candidate had affirmatively changed he name to Golden with the Supreme Court, ARDC, Secretary of State, mortgage company and Cook County Clerk's office, among other agencies. Based on the evidence heard by the Electoral Board, the court determined that the candidate was required to use her married surname (Golden) on her nominating papers rather than her maiden name (Jamieson). As a result, the candidate's nominating papers were invalid and she was not eligible to be on the March 17th ballot.


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