Wednesday, September 21, 2016

It all turns on the meaning of "that" -- write-in votes for Judge Ahmad to be counted

Write-in votes for Judge Maryam Ahmad will be counted in the race for the 1st Subcircuit Hopkins vacancy.

That's the gist of Judge Alfred Paul's Opinion issued earlier today in the case of Maryam Ahmad v. Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, et al., 2016 COEL 000019. The Law Bulletin's David Thomas is reporting this evening that the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners will not appeal today's decision. (The Chicago Board of Elections had ruled Judge Ahmad's declaration of intent to run as a write-in for the Hopkins vacancy invalid because she had been defeated as a candidate in the March Primary for the 1st Subcircuit Brim vacancy.)

Judge Paul's decision today quotes the relevant portion of the applicable statutes, §§17-16.1 and 18-9.1 of the Election Code, as follows: "A candidate for whom a nomination paper has been filed as a partisan candidate at a primary election, and who is defeated for his or her nomination at the primary election is ineligible to file a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for election in that general or consolidated election."

The court found this language to be "clear and unequivocal." "Specifically," Judge Paul wrote, "the language of the statute states that a candidate 'is ineligible to file a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for election in THAT general or consolidated election (emphasis added).' That refers directly back to the prior language in the same provision regarding a 'nomination paper filed at the primary election.'" Therefore, although Judge Ahmad was a candidate for the Brim vacancy, she can now be a write-in candidate for the Hopkins vacancy in the upcoming general election.

Because the 1st Subcircuit includes both City and suburban precincts, today's order is binding as to both the Chicago Board of Elections and the Cook County Clerk. Judge Ahmad's election law attorney, Burton S. Odelson, told FWIW, today's decision is "a victory for ballot access and giving people a choice."

The only candidate whose name will be printed on the ballot for the 1st Subcircuit Hopkins vacancy is former law clerk Rhonda Crawford. (Crawford was dismissed from her job as a law clerk in the Chief Judge's office after it was determined that she had pretended to be a judge already and ruled in at least a couple of cases in a real judge's Markham courtroom.) Voters wishing to make a different choice will still have to write in Judge Maryam Ahmad's name.

My thanks to Mr. Odelson for providing me with a copy of today's order -- and for being gracious enough not to say 'I told you so' despite my erroneous speculation about the likely interpretation of the relevant statutes in this post.


Anonymous said...

Jack proves once again that he knows NOTHING about the COUNTY DIVISION. CLOWN!

Anonymous said...

Oh no, Anon 8:14. Black Lady Who Reads, here. Don't call our friend Jack, dumb. He has this fun blog for us to read. None of us can always call the inner workings of our system correctly or predict the future (except Petty Jesus(aka PJ). If you call our friend Jack dumb again, PJ will be after you. So I hope you were being sarcastic and "funny". Hee hee. Ha ha. Otherwise, PJ will have you stand on a chair just to raise your IQ.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately this is an empty victory for Judge Ahmad. When was the last time any write-in candidate won in a subcircuit or countywide race. Judge Ahmad would have been better off pretending she was Republican by blackening her front teeth, wearing a "Second Amendment Rules" t-shirt and donning a "Make America Great" hat and try and get the Cook County GOP to appoint her to run against Crawford as a Republican.

Anonymous said...

It's a long shot but at least Judge Ahmad is qualified and experienced. They same cannot be said for Crawford.

Speaking of unqualified, it seems a certain Supreme is going to make a horrific appointment in a near northwest subcircuit because her husband wants it to happen.

Jack Leyhane said...

@Anon 9/22 2:48 p.m. -- I realize you're making a joke, but I suppose that the Republicans might have put someone up against Rhonda Crawford under the procedure I outlined in this 2014 post:

But I don't think Judge Ahmad could have been that candidate because her petitions would be subject to challenge on the grounds that she could not be a Republican candidate in this election cycle, having run in the primary as a Democrat. Maybe I've got that wrong as well, but I don't think so.

Besides, although Judge Ahmad's write-in candidacy must be seen as a long-shot, in the 1st Subcircuit, wouldn't a write-in stand a better chance than a Republican?

Anonymous said...

That rules out Freeman.

Anonymous said...

Anyone want free tickets. I was all excited because Judge Turner was supposed to be on Avy Meyers' show tonight, but now I hear it will only be her understudy.

Anonymous said...

But if the JIB or ARDC file a complaint there may be enough pressure for her to drop out of the race which leaves Ahmad in a good position. You can't win the lottery if you don't buy a ticket.