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Coalition For Pol. Honesty v. St. Bd. of Elec.

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 1, 1980.

COALITION FOR POLITICAL HONESTY ET AL., PETITIONERS,

v.

THE STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS ET AL., RESPONDENTS.



Original petition for mandamus.

PER CURIAM:

Rehearing denied January 29, 1981.

On August 11, 1980, leave was granted petitioners, the Coalition for Political Honesty, the Committee for Legislative Reform, Patrick J. Quinn, George C. Townsend, Jane M. Brayton and Stanley C. Johnson, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, to file this original action seeking a writ of mandamus directing the State Board of Elections (Board) to certify a proposed constitutional amendment for submission at the November 4, 1980, general election. The Board and its members, and David Mendel Patt and Jeff E. Bruner, who filed an objectors' petition with the State Board of Elections, were named as respondents. Because of a September 4 deadline (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 1, par. 104, and ch. 46, par. 10-14) for certifying proposed constitutional amendments to the county clerks and boards of election commissioners, we expedited briefing, heard oral argument on August 25, and announced on September 2 that the writ should issue, indicating that an opinion explaining the reasons therefor would be filed at a later date. This is that opinion.

Our constitution (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, sec. 1) provides: "The legislative power is vested in a General Assembly consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives elected by the electors from 59 legislative districts." Section 2 of article IV provides that one senator and three representatives shall be elected from each of those districts, and that in elections for representatives "each elector may cast three votes for one candidate or distribute them equally among no more than three candidates." Section 3 of article XIV, relating to constitutional revision, provides:

"Section 3. CONSTITUTIONAL INITIATIVE FOR LEGISLATIVE ARTICLE

Amendments to Article IV of this Constitution may be proposed by a petition signed by a number of electors equal in number to at least eight percent of the total votes cast for candidates for Governor in the preceding gubernatorial election. Amendments shall be limited to structural and procedural subjects contained in Article IV. A petition shall contain the text of the proposed amendment and the date of the general election at which the proposed amendment is to be submitted, shall have been signed by the petitioning electors not more than twenty-four months preceding that general election and shall be filed with the Secretary of State at least six months before that general election. The procedure for determining the validity and sufficiency of a petition shall be provided by law. If the petition is valid and sufficient, the proposed amendment shall be submitted to the electors at that general election and shall become effective if approved by either three-fifths of those voting on the amendment or a majority of those voting in the election.

Pursuant to the provisions of section 3 of article XIV, petitioners in 1979 commenced circulating a petition proposing the following constitutional amendment:

PETITION FOR AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

We, the undersigned, being qualified electors of the State of Illinois who have affixed our signatures in our own proper person to this Petition subsequent to January 1, 1979, do hereby petition, pursuant to Section 3 of article XIV of the Constitution of the State of Illinois, that there be submitted to the qualified electors of this State, for adoption or rejection at the General Election to be held on Tuesday, the Fourth Day of November, A.D. 1980, in the manner provided by law, a proposition to amend Sections 1, 2, and 3 of Article IV of the Constitution of the State of Illinois, the amended Sections and the Transition Schedule applicable thereto to read as follows:

Section 1. Legislature — Power and Structure

The legislative power is vested in a General Assembly consisting of a Senate and a House of Representatives, elected by the electors from 59 Legislative Districts and 118 Representative Districts.

Section 2. Legislative Composition

(a) One Senator shall be elected from each Legislative District. Immediately following each decennial redistricting, the General Assembly by law shall divide the Legislative Districts as equally as possible into three groups. Senators from one group shall be elected for terms of four years, four years and two years; Senators from the second group, for terms of four years, two years and four years; and Senators from the third group, for terms of two years, four years and four years. The Legislative Districts in each group shall be distributed substantially equally over the State.

(b) Each Legislative District shall be divided into two Representative Districts. In 1982 and every two years thereafter one Representative shall be elected from each Representative District for a term of two years.

(c) To be eligible to serve as a member of the General Assembly, a person must be a United States citizen, at least 21 years old, and for the two years preceding his election or appointment a resident of the district which he is to represent. In the general election following a redistricting, a candidate for the General Assembly may be elected from any district which contains a part of the district in which he resided at the time of the redistricting and reelected if a resident of the new district he represents for 18 months prior to re-election.

(d) Within thirty days after a vacancy occurs, it shall be filled by appointment as provided by law. If the vacancy is in a Senatorial office with more than twenty-eight months remaining in the term, the appointed Senator shall serve until the next general election, at which time a Senator shall be elected to serve for the remainder of the term. If the vacancy is in a Representative office or in any other Senatorial office, the appointment shall be for the remainder of the term. An appointee to fill a vacancy shall be a member of the same political party as the person he succeeds.

(e) No member of the General Assembly shall receive compensation as a public officer or employee from any other governmental entity for time during which he is in attendance as a member of the General Assembly.

No member of the General Assembly during the term for which he was elected or appointed shall be appointed to a public office which shall have been created or the compensation for which shall have been increased by the General Assembly during that term.

Section 3. Legislative Redistricting

(a) Legislative Districts shall be compact, contiguous and substantially equal in population. Representative Districts shall be compact, contiguous, and substantially equal in population.

(b) In the year following each Federal decennial census year, the General Assembly by law shall redistrict the Legislative Districts and the Representative Districts.

If no redistricting plan becomes effective by June 30 of that year, a Legislative Redistricting Commission shall be constituted not later than July 10. The Commission shall consist of eight members, no more than four of whom shall be members of the same political party.

The Speaker and Minority Leader of the House of Representatives shall each appoint to the Commission one Representative and one person who is not a member of the General Assembly. The President and Minority Leader of the Senate shall each appoint to the Commission one Senator and one person who is not a member of the General Assembly.

The members shall be certified to the Secretary of State by the appointing authorities. A vacancy on the Commission shall be filled within five days by the authority that made the original appointment. A Chairman and Vice Chairman shall be chosen by a majority of all members of the Commission.

Not later than August 10, the Commission shall file with the Secretary of State a redistricting plan approved by at least five members.

If the Commission fails to file an approved redistricting plan, the Supreme Court shall submit the names of two persons, not of the same political party, to the Secretary of State not later than September 1.

Not later than September 5, the Secretary of State publicly shall draw by random selection the name of one of the two persons to serve as the ninth member of the Commission.

Not later than October 5, the Commission shall file with the Secretary of State a redistricting plan approved by at least five members.

An approved redistricting plan filed with the Secretary of State shall be presumed valid, shall have the force and effect of law and shall be published promptly by the Secretary of State.

The Supreme Court shall have the original and exclusive jurisdiction over actions concerning redistricting the House and Senate, which shall be initiated in the name of the People of the State by the Attorney General.

TRANSITION SCHEDULE

This Amendment shall take effect the day following its passage and shall govern the Primaries and the General Election to be held in 1982 and thereafter.

We further petition that, to the extent permitted by law, said proposition shall be submitted on a separate Blue Ballot and that the proposition and the explanation thereof shall be printed thereon in substantially the following terms:

PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO SECTIONS 1, 2, and 3 OF ARTICLE IV (Legislative Article) Explanation of Amendment

The purpose of the Amendment is to reduce the size of the House of Representatives from 177 to 118 members and to provide for the election of one Representative from each of 118 districts.

Place an X in the blank square opposite "Yes" or "No" to indicate your choice.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------- | | YES | For the proposed Amendment to Sections 1, 2, and 3 | |-----|-----| of Article IV of the Constitution (Legislative Article). | | | NO | | --------------------------------------------------------------------------

---------------------------------------------------------------- NAME | STREET and NUMBER | CITY, TOWN or VILLAGE | COUNTY -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 1. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 2. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 3. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 4. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 5. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 6. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 7. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 8. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 9. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 10. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 11. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 12. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 13. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 14. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 15. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 16. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 17. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 18. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 19. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 20. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 21. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 22. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 23. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 24. | | | Illinois -----------|-------------------|-----------------------|-------- | | | County, 25. | | | Illinois ----------------------------------------------------------------

STATE OF ILLINOIS | COUNTY OF _________________ > ss. |

I, _______________________, a qualified elector of the State of Illinois, do hereby certify that I am upwards of the age of 18 years, that I reside at No. _____________________________________________ street in the ___________________ of ________________________, County of __________ (write the word: city, (write the name of your town or village) city, town or village)

and State of Illinois, and that the signatures on this sheet were signed in my presence subsequent to January 1, 1979 and are genuine, and that to the best of my knowledge and belief the persons so signing were, at the time of signing said Petition, qualified electors of the State of Illinois, and that their respective residences are correctly stated, as above set forth.

Subscribed and Sworn to before me this _____________________________ ________ day of _________ A.D., 19__ (Your Signature) _____________________________________ Notary Public

My commission expires _______________ [Seal] Sheet Number ________________

At the time petitioners began collecting signatures, section 28-1.1 of the Election Code read:

"Sec. 28-1.1. Petitions filed under Section 28-1 shall consist of sheets of uniform size and each sheet shall contain, above the space for signature, an appropriate heading, giving the information as to the question of public policy to be submitted, the political division in which it is to be submitted, and the election at which it is to be submitted and the heading of each sheet shall be the same. Such petition shall be signed by the registered voters of the political division in which the question of public policy is to be submitted in their own proper persons only, and opposite the signature of each signer his residence address shall be written or printed (and if a resident of a city having a population of over 10,000 by the then last preceding federal census, the street and number of such residence shall be given); provided that the county or city, village or town, and state of residence of such electors may be printed on the petition forms where all of the such electors signing the petition reside in the same county or city, village or town, and state. Standard abbreviations may be used in writing the residence address, including street number, if any. No signature shall be valid or be counted in considering the validity or sufficiency of such petition unless the requirements of this Section are complied with. At the bottom of each sheet of such petition shall be added a statement, signed by a registered voter of the political division in which the question of public policy is to be submitted, stating his residence address (and if a resident of a city having a population of over 10,000 by the then last preceding federal census, also stating the street and number of such residence), certifying that the signatures on that sheet of the petition were signed in his presence and are genuine, and that to the best of his knowledge and belief the persons so signing were at the time of signing the petition registered voters of the political division in which the question of public policy is to be submitted and that their respective residences are correctly stated therein. Such statement shall be sworn to before some officer authorized to administer oaths in this State. Such sheets, before being presented to the electoral board or filed with the proper officer of the electoral district or division of the state or municipality, as the case may be, shall be neatly fastened together in book form, by placing the sheets in a pile and fastening them together at one edge in a secure and suitable manner, and the sheets shall then be numbered consecutively. The sheets shall not be fastened by pasting them together end to end, so as to form a continuous strip or roll. A petition, when presented or filed, shall not be withdrawn, altered, or added to, and no signature shall be revoked except by revocation in writing presented or filed with the officers or officer with whom the petition is required to be presented or filed, and before the presentment or filing of such petition. Whoever forges any name of a signer upon any petition shall be deemed guilty of a forgery, and on conviction thereof, shall be punished accordingly." (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 46, par. 28-1.1, as added by Pub. Act 79-408.)

On June 30, 1979, the General Assembly passed, and on August 11, 1979, the Governor signed, an act, effective immediately, amending section 28-1.1. As amended by Public Act 81-163, section 28-1.1 reads:

"Sec. 28-1.1 Petitions filed under Section 28-1 shall consist of sheets of uniform size and each sheet shall contain, above the space for signature, an appropriate heading, giving the information as to the question of public policy to be submitted, the political division in which it is to be submitted, and the election at which it is to be submitted and the heading of each sheet shall be the same. Such petition shall be signed by the registered voters of the political division in which the question of public policy is to be submitted in their own proper persons only, and opposite the signature of each signer his residence address shall be written or printed (and if a resident of a city having a population of over 10,000 by the then last preceding federal census, the street and number of such residence shall be given); provided that the county and city, village or town, and state of residence of such electors may be printed on the petition forms where all of the such electors signing the petition reside in the same county and city, village or town, and state. Standard abbreviations may be used in writing the residence address, including street number, if any. A petition proposing an amendment to Article IV of the Constitution pursuant to Section 3 of Article XIV of the Constitution may include only individual sheets which are in conformity with the following requirements; any sheets not in conformity shall not be received by the Secretary of State or considered as part of the petition:

(a) each sheet may be signed and circulated only by qualified electors who are residents of a single election jurisdiction; and

(b) the signature of the circulator of each sheet must be attested by a notary public or other officer authorized to administer oaths who is a legal resident of the same county as the circulator and petitioners who have signed that sheet;

(c) election jurisdiction means (a) an entire county, in the case of a county in which no municipal board of election commissioners is located or which is under the jurisdiction of a county board of election commissioners, (2) the territorial jurisdiction of a municipal board of election commissioners; and (3) the territory in a county outside of the jurisdiction of a municipal board of election commissioners having election jurisdiction within such county; in each instance election jurisdiction shall be determined according to which election authority maintains the permanent registration records of qualified electors. No signature shall be valid or be counted in considering the validity or sufficiency of such petition unless the requirements of this Section are complied with. * * * [The balance of the section remained unchanged.]" (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 46, par. 28-1.1, as amended by Pub. Act 81-163.)

Petitioners thereafter continued to gather signatures, some but not all of the circulators attempting to comply with the new requirements.

Section 10-10 of the Election Code prescribes a random-sampling method of establishing the validity of signatures appearing on petitions. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 46, par. 10-10.) This random-sampling approach, together with certain corrections agreed to by the parties, produced a stipulation between the parties in the hearing before the Board that there would be 254,941 valid signatures on the petition if signatures of those residing in the same election jurisdiction as the circulator were counted notwithstanding the fact that those signatures appeared on sheets also containing signatures of nonresidents; it was also agreed that 252,008 signatures were required for a valid petition.

The Board, in a July 31 decision, sustained the objections in a 5-3 vote, the majority holding that the number of signatures appearing on sheets signed and circulated solely by qualified electors of a single election jurisdiction is insufficient; that all signatures appearing on other sheets may not be counted; and that the proposed amendment contained at least two separate and unrelated questions in violation of article III, section 3, of the Illinois Constitution.

Petitioners maintain that the application to their petition of the statutory provision excluding entire sheets of signatures from consideration because of the presence thereon of one or more nonconforming signatures violates article XIV, section 3, of the 1970 Illinois Constitution, as well as the equal protection clauses of the fourteenth amendment to the United States Constitution and article I, section 2, of the Illinois Constitution. Since we agree, we need not consider petitioners' contention that due process ...


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