a legitimate means of political expression.
Those contentions argue too much. Substantial impairment of
the voters' ability to express their political preferences
necessitates strict scrutiny to determine whether there is a
compelling state interest served by the least drastic
alternative. See e.g. Illinois State Board of Elections v.
Socialists Workers Party, 440 U.S. 173, 99 S.Ct. 983, 59
L.Ed.2d 230 (1979). However, while the right of an individual
to be on the ballot is intertwined with voters' rights, the
right of a specific individual to run for office is not
fundamental nor is ". . . every limitation or incidental burden
on the exercise of voting rights . . . subject to a stringent
standard of review." Bullock v. Carter, 405 U.S. 134, 143, 92
S.Ct. 849, 856, 31 L.Ed.2d 92 (1972).
The constitutional sensitivity is to denial of access to or
excessive burdens upon any identifiable classification of
voters, not to a specific candidate or his supporters.
Trafelet v. Thompson, 594 F.2d 623 (7th Cir. 1979), petition
for cert. filed. If such burdens were demonstrated here, we
would necessarily searchingly inquire into whatever compelling
necessity for those burdens was advanced. But no such burdens
were shown. This is not a case in which high filing fees or
excessive signature requirements discourage access to the
electoral process. All the candidate had to do was count.*fn*
That, however, does not end the matter. As defendants
concede, there must be a rational basis for the maximum
limitation. Many of the election cases, whether applying a
strict scrutiny or a rational basis standard, have focused on
the state interest in an election system which requires
candidates to demonstrate a "significant modicum of support",
Jenness v. Fortson, 403 U.S. 431, 442, 91 S.Ct. 1970, 29
L.Ed.2d 554 (1971), in order that ballots not be laundry lists
of frivolous candidacies. Clearly that interest is not being
served here, as Richards filed more signatures than the
Two state interests are suggested. One is advanced by the
intervenors. They urge that the limitation prevents a
monopolization of signatures by an entrenched candidate, thus
preventing others from access to the ballot. There is nothing,
however, which presently prevents a candidate from going on
the ballot with signatures of voters who have also signed
petitions for his or her opponent. Briscoe v. Kusper,
435 F.2d 1046 (7th Cir. 1970), reh. denied 1971. No candidate can
monopolize the voting pool. Further, nothing suggests that
"monopolization" is other than a conceptual possibility.
Conversely, and contrary to the contention of amicus, it is
difficult even to conjecture that the filing limitation will
have any appreciable chilling impact on political expression
when there is no limit on solicitation. Indeed, both plaintiff
Richards and the incumbent intervenor testified that they tell
their supporters to seek as many signatures as they can or
The second state interest advanced by defendants is more in
keeping with the
Illinois Supreme Court's explanation in Lewis v. Dunne,
63 Ill.2d 48, 344 N.E.2d 443 (1976) that the purpose of Sec. 7-10,
generally, is to provide an orderly election procedure.
Unquestionably, providing an orderly election procedure is both
a rational state interest and a state responsibility. We are
dealing here, however, with the maximum limitations of Sec.
7-10(i). In the only reported case on that section, the
Illinois Appellate Court, while leaving the matter to the
inarticulated wisdom of the legislature, commented that ". . .
it is difficult to perceive the legislative wisdom in confining
maximum signature limitations only to State offices and to ward
and township committeeman offices. . . . (It is) our belief
that the statutory classification at bar lacks a rational
basis. . . ." Lizak v. Zadrozny, 4 Ill. App.3d 1023,
283 N.E.2d 252 (1st Dist. 1972).
Defendants urge that Sec. 7-10(i) should be considered in
light of the facts and circumstances behind the law, the
interests which the state claims to be protecting, and the
interests of those who are disadvantaged by the
classification, relying upon Storer v. Brown, 415 U.S. 724, 94
S.Ct. 1274, 39 L.Ed. 714, rehearing denied 417 U.S. 926, 94
S.Ct. 2635, 41 L.Ed.2d 230 (1974). They then claim that a
maximum limitation is a desirable and non-burdensome measure
for protecting the integrity of the election process. The
purport of the evidence they presented at the hearing is that
ward committeeman contests give rise to far more objections
than do various other races, that the Board has only five days
to act on objections, and that limitations on the number of
signatures permits the Board to proceed in an orderly manner to
determine whether or not the petitions contain a sufficient
number of valid signatures. In short, the bottom line
justification is administrative convenience in carrying out
clearly appropriate responsibilities.
Here it is the defendants who are contending too much. This
court is not persuaded that a maximum limitation on the
signatures the Board need consider is necessarily
unreasonable. The Board, however, has interpreted Sec. 7-10(i)
as requiring it to leave off the ballot otherwise qualified
candidates who inadvertently file too many signatures. The
statute does not specifically so require. Assuming that
limitations have an administrative justification, the same
purpose can be served in a rational electoral system by
returning the excess petitions, by refusing to consider any
signatures beyond the statutory maximum or by concluding the
objection hearing as soon as the minimum required signatures
have been validated. This court is unable to conclude that the
draconian sanction of removal from the ballot if surplus
signatures are filed has any rational relationship to the
state's interest in orderly election procedures.
Defendants urge that the level of political conflict
respecting ward committeeman positions is far greater than
that in state central committeeman races; and that therefore
justifies the administrative determination to remove
over-filing ward committeeman candidates from the ballot. The
differences in position are real; they are also irrelevant.
Probably the most comparable position is that of alderman.
Defendants' evidence was that aldermanic elections are
comparably contentious. Those have no maximum limitations.
Nothing indicates that the Board does not resolve objections
in those contests in an appropriate fashion or that, without
the maximum, the procedures are somehow disorderly.
Reasonable rules governing the electoral process must
reasonably accommodate with the inevitable sloppiness which is
inherent in citizen selection of their representatives. Quite
possibly because of a prior excessive state court deference to
the technical requirements of election laws, we have seen in
recent years an increasing appeal to constitutional doctrine
as the measure of their validity. At the same time, and
possibly as a consequence, state courts have increasingly
used, without so stating, due process standards in
interpreting state statutes. Accordingly, technical
infractions which cause no confusion, Lewis v. Dunne, supra, or
are unrelated to preservation of the integrity
of the electoral process and impose no undue burden on that
process, Stevenson v. County Officers Electoral Board, 58 Ill. App.3d 24,
15 Ill.Dec. 571, 373 N.E.2d 1043 (3rd Dist. 1978),
Williams v. Butler, 35 Ill. App.3d 532, 341 N.E.2d 394 (4th
Dist. 1976), have been considered in substantial compliance
with the law.
One questions whether the courts of Illinois would today, on
the basis of Sec. 7-10(i), sanction denial from the ballot of
a petitioner who inadvertently filed 367 signatures too many.
But that is not the question before this court, and this court
necessarily must decide the matter in a constitutional
On the basis of the evidence presented, this court concludes
that the ballot denial is an irrational classification and is
unreasonable and arbitrary governmental action. The defendants
are, accordingly enjoined as previously set forth.