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Hatch v. Holzman

DECEMBER 3, 1964.

ROBERT F. HATCH, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,

v.

SIDNEY T. HOLZMAN, ET AL., CONSTITUTING THE BOARD OF ELECTION COMMISSIONERS OF THE CITY OF CHICAGO, AND EX OFFICIO CONSTITUTING THE ELECTORAL BOARD FOR THE PURPOSE OF HEARING AND PASSING UPON NOMINATING PETITIONS FOR THE OFFICE OF WARD COMMITTEEMAN, AND EDWARD J. BARRETT, COUNTY CLERK OF COOK COUNTY, ILLINOIS, DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. CHARLES S. DOUGHERTY, Judge, presiding. Affirmed.

MR. JUSTICE SULLIVAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT.

Rehearing denied February 4, 1965.

This is an appeal from an order of the circuit court of Cook County quashing a writ of certiorari sued out to obtain judicial review of a decision of the Board of Election Commissioners of the city of Chicago, sitting ex officio as an Electoral Board. The petitioner filed a nominating petition for the office of Republican Ward Committeeman of the 19th Ward of the city of Chicago with the County Clerk of Cook County on January 20, 1964, to be voted for in the primary of April 14, 1964. Objections to the nominating petition were thereafter filed on February 7, 1964, and after proper notice a hearing was held on the petition, and the objections, before the Electoral Board, and the objections to said nominating petition were sustained.

The nominating petition for the petitioner-appellant contained 3,070 signatures. Under the law a nominating petition for Republican Ward Committeeman in the 19th Ward was required to contain not less than 2074 and not more than 3,317 signatures of qualified primary electors of the Republican Party of said ward for the election held on April 14, 1964.

Section 7-10 of The Election Code (Ill Rev Stats 1963, c 46, § 7-10) sets forth the form, content and requirements of the petition of a candidate for Ward Committeeman who desires to have his name printed upon the primary ballot. This section also provides that such petitions must be signed by qualified primary electors of the candidate's party. Section 7-13 of the Election Code sets forth the time within which to file objections to the petitions for candidates for Ward Committeeman, and the time within which the Board is required to certify its decision, stating whether or not the name of the candidate shall be printed on the ballot.

The objections raised by the objector are the following: That there were 1363 names on the petition of persons who were not in fact members of and affiliated with the Republican Party and were not qualified primary electors of the Republican Party; that there were 49 nominators who were not registered; that there was one circulator who signed the sheet he circulated as a nominator; that there were 12 persons that had signed the nominating petition for the candidate more than once; that there were abbreviations of signatures totaling 198 names; that there were 15 illegible signatures; that one nominator did not reside in the 19th Ward; that the sheets bearing the names of 172 nominators were circulated by Democrats; that the circulator did not sign a registered name on 13 petitions containing a total of 257 signatures; that one person signed his own name and the name of some other person in 163 instances, and that 211 persons signed other nominating petitions for the same office.

At the hearing before the Electoral Board the objector asked leave to file an objector's supplemental petition with clarification on points already urged in the objections, and setting forth additional names objected to. The candidate objected to the filing of the supplemental petition. The motion to strike the objector's supplemental petition was taken under advisement and the supplemental petition was received in evidence subject to the objection of the candidate.

It is conceded by the candidate that if there were 1363 names on his petition of persons who are not qualified primary electors of the Republican Party, his petition did not contain sufficient names.

After a hearing the Electoral Board announced its decision on February 14, 1964, in which it ordered, adjudged and decreed that the objections of Robert J. Lyman to the nominating petition of Robert F. Hatch be sustained and that said petition is declared insufficient in law, and that the name of Robert F. Hatch shall not be printed on the ballot at the primary election to be held on April 14, 1964.

Of course, if all of the foregoing objections were valid there would be no question as to the invalidity of the nominating petition of the candidate. Furthermore, if only 544 nominators were found not to be qualified Republican Primary Electors, the nominating petition could conceivably be held insufficient because of a consideration of all or a part of the other objections filed thereto. The petition required a minimum of 2074 signatures. There were 3070 signatures on the petition, leaving an excess of 996. The objections far exceeded this number.

During the hearing Commissioner Sheehan, one of the members of the Electoral Board said: "Just a minute, gentlemen. For your own information, all of the names that you object to will be checked with the register in the Election Commission office. When you get ready for that, see one of our men here and arrange that each one of you will have a watcher present." Later during the hearing Commissioner Sheehan stated: "That will all be checked in the binders."

Petitioner contends that the Board exceeded its jurisdiction; that its decision was arbitrary and capricious; that it misinterpreted the statutory requirement that a petition for Ward Committeeman be signed by "qualified primary electors" of the same political party as that of the candidate, and that it made no findings of fact.

Petitioner alleged that his nominating petition and the signatures thereon, together with the objections, were checked with the register of voters of the 19th Ward by the Board in arriving at its decision.

While the petitioner claims that only 544 of the 1363 names on his petition were checked out as persons not "qualified primary electors" as interpreted by the Board, there is nothing in the record before us to indicate that to be a fact. The petitioner also claims that none of the 1363 signatures on the petition designated as persons not qualified Republican Primary Electors were legally disqualified from signing his petition. Since there were no findings of fact in the ...


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