Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cook County Electoral Board results: Landscape for March primary coming into focus

Corrected 1/23/14

There are a couple of cases yet to be decided, specifically cases concerning the fate of Judge Allen W. Masters' petitions to run in the 12th Subcircuit, and Mable Taylor's petitions to run for the Hardy-Campbell vacancy in the 7th Subcircuit. These cases will come before the Board again later today.

But the work of the Electoral Board is complete, now, in all other judicial cases.

Carolyn Kennedy-Elkins was ruled off the ballot on the grounds that she signed a nominating petition for a Republican judicial candidate (who has since withdrawn from the race for the Iosco vacancy in the 13th Subcircuit). The problem was that Kennedy-Elkins wanted to run as a Democrat in that same race, but -- under §7-10 of the Election Code, 10 ILCS 5/7-10, and under the authority of Rosenzweig v. Illinois State Board of Elections, 409 Ill.App.3d 176 (1st Dist. 2011) (interpreting an identical provision in §8-8 of the Election Code that applies to candidates for the State legislature) -- was no longer a "qualified primary elector" able to run as a Democrat. A seemingly innocent act of common courtesy was deemed to have fatal consequences for the candidate. Assuming there is no court challenge to the Electoral Board's action, or if such a challenge should prove unsuccessful, the winner of the Republican primary for this one seat (John Curry or Gary W. Seyring) will be virtually assured of election in November; no one else filed to run in the Democratic primary in that race.

In the race for the Neville vacancy, the Electoral Board overruled the objection to the candidacy of Patricia S. Spratt. Objections to the petitions filed by Carolyn Joan Gallagher and Mary Alice Melchor were withdrawn.  (Four candidates remain in this race, including William B. Raines.)

In the race for the O'Neal vacancy in the 2nd Subcircuit, both candidates survived challenges to their petitions. The challenge to Nyshana K. Sumner's petitions were withdrawn; the objections made to the papers filed by Steven G. Watkins were overruled.

In the 4th Subcircuit (Mulhern vacancy), Martin D. Reggi survived a challenge to his petitions. His sole opponent in that race is John Michael Allegretti.

Every candidate in the race for the Taylor vacancy in the 7th Subcircuit survived a petition challenge. The challenge to the nominating papers of Judy Rice was withdrawn, the challenges against Owens J. Shelby and Marianne Jackson were overruled.

We previously mentioned that, in the race for the "A" vacancy in the 11th Subcircuit, the objection filed to Judge Pamela McLean Meyerson's candidacy was overruled.  Since then, the challenge to Gina A. Crumble's petitions have also been overruled. (Joanne F. Rosado and Scott Michael Kozicki are the other candidates in this race.)

Finally, in the race for the Sterba vacancy in the 15th Subcircuit, the objection to Mary Beth Duffy's petitions has been overruled. (Michael B. Barrett, Sondra Denmark, Judge Chris Lawler, and Robbin Perkins are the other candidates in this crowded race.)

As a matter of vocabulary, the withdrawal of a challenge certainly ends the matter; unless a candidate chooses to voluntarily withdraw from a race, the candidates against whom challenges have been withdrawn will appear on the ballot. Where a challenge is overruled (or sustained), however, the losing party has a right of judicial review. FWIW has not yet learned of any pending judicial challenges to the actions taken so far by the Cook County Electoral Board, but that does not mean that none have been filed. I will of course advise if any filings are called to my attention.

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