Saturday, December 14, 2013

Just a little bit about the pending challenges to judicial petitions

Status hearings on the 42 challenges filed against candidates for the Cook County Circuit Court and the First District Appellate Court begin Tuesday afternoon.

Perhaps after those initial hearings we may have a better idea how many of these challenges are substantial and how many are, well, less so.

I had hoped to independently analyze the various complaints and perhaps develop my own sense of which complaints might pose the greatest threats to budding judicial campaigns. This year, as in the past, Cook County Clerk David Orr has posted copies of all of the Complaints filed against judicial candidates (and others), accessible via the Electoral Board page of his website. Objections had to be filed by last Monday, and by Tuesday evening, the Complaints were already being linked on the County Clerk's website. Courtney Greve of Mr. Orr's office was kind enough to let me know which ones got posted first so I could start looking right away.

But there was, and is, a small problem: Only the Complaints themselves are posted. Most are fairly... generic. Even the ones that seem to be more fact-specific refer to appendices submitted with the Complaints, but which are not included in the portion of the documents posted. One reason for not including these are pretty obvious: The names and addresses of individual petition signers (or alleged petition signers) do not have to be spread across the Ether. If privacy considerations were ignored, there would still be storage (file size) issues.

Unfortunately, just as the devil is in the details, the merits (or lack of merit) of any individual challenge may be revealed only by consideration of the specific lists (lists of signers not registered, lists of signers residing out of district, etc.) -- and then, perhaps, only after comparison of the challenged sheets with the official county registration records.

We'll start finding out how things stand next week.

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