Friday, July 02, 2010

Links to challenges to independent judicial hopefuls

Cook County Clerk David Orr's office has posted a link to the challenge to Roger Zamparo's bid to run as an independent candidate in the 11th Judicial Subcircuit. A link has also been posted to the challenge to Keith Thiel's petitions to run in the 14th Subcircuit.

The objections to Thiel's petitions are fairly standard: The Objector's Petition alleges that, though Thiel claims to have secured more than the necessary 2,524 signatures, when forgeries, signatures of voters not registered to vote within the boundaries of the 14th Subcircuit, signatures of persons not registered to vote, and signatures of persons providing incomplete or inaccurate addresses are deleted, Thiel will not have enough valid signatures to qualify for the ballot. These are the kinds of objections one expects to see and it is not possible to evaluate whether the objector has a good case merely from the allegations in the petition.

Objectors' petitions typically refer to attached schedules which purport to document objections in each of these categories. With these schedules, and the actual voter registration records, one could form a judgment as to the strength of the objections in any given case. Of course, this would undermine the role of the Electoral Board. In any event, the schedules are not posted on line. I have not looked into the reasons why. I would think that privacy and potential identity theft considerations may figure prominently in this decision, however.

The objections to Zamparo's candidacy are similar to those raised against Thiel with one significant exception. In the objection to Zamparo's petitions, the objector claims that the State Board of Elections has failed to correctly calculate the signature requirement for independent candidacies in the 11th Subcircuit. The ISBE says Zamparo would qualify for the 11th Subcircuit ballot if he submits at least 1,879 valid signatures and not more than 3,005. According to the Objector's Petition, Zamparo claims to have 2,518 valid signatures. But the objector contends that Zamparo should have submitted at least 3,186 signatures and maybe as many as 4,362. The Electoral Board will have to interpret §10-3 of the Election Code, 10 ILCS 5/10-3. The Board will probably concern itself with the meaning of this sentence:
Nominations of independent candidates for public office within any district or political subdivision less than the State, may be made by nomination papers signed in the aggregate for each candidate by qualified voters of such district, or political subdivision, equaling not less than 5%, nor more than 8% (or 50 more than the minimum, whichever is greater) of the number of persons, who voted at the next preceding regular election in such district or political subdivision in which such district or political subdivision voted as a unit for the election of officers to serve its respective territorial area.
I don't pretend to know how the Board will rule. But there was no judge elected from the 11th Judicial Subcircuit in 2008. Judge Mary Colleen Roberts was elected from the 11th Subcircuit in 2006. She was unopposed in the general election and received 63,722 votes. Five per-cent of 63,722 -- if that is the relevant number -- is 3,186.

A status hearing is scheduled in both cases on Tuesday, July 6.

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