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Havens v. Miller

OPINION FILED DECEMBER 11, 1981.

EARL HAVENS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

JOSEPH E. MILLER ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES. — EARL HAVENS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

A. RUDOLF STEINER ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES. — EARL HAVENS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

JOHN F. FLANAGAN ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES. — EARL HAVENS, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

PAUL S. BRAUN ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOSEPH SCHNEIDER, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE LORENZ DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

These election cases (Nos. 81-2464 through 67) concern the effects of failing to comply with the requirements of section 2 of article 13 of the 1970 Illinois Constitution and of section 10-4 of the Election Code. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 46, par. 10-4.) Because of alleged noncompliance with these provisions, Appellant Earl Havens filed objections to the nomination petitions which Joseph E. Miller, A. Rudolf Steiner, John F. Flanagan, and Paul S. Braun filed to qualify for positions on the ballot of the November 3, 1981, election as candidates for the board of Homewood-Flossmoor School District 233. The Educational Officers Electoral Board overruled the objections, and the circuit court denied appellant's petitions for judicial review.

On October 23, 1981, after an expedited appeal of these rulings, we reversed the judgments of the circuit court and the decisions of the electoral board, and we ordered these candidates removed from the ballot.

This consolidated opinion explains our rulings on the following issues:

(1) Whether we have jurisdiction to hear these appeals;

(2) Whether the electoral board had "jurisdiction" to hear appellant's objections;

(3) Whether section 2 of article 13 of the 1970 Illinois Constitution mandates that candidates are ineligible for office if they fail to timely file a statement of economic interests;

(4) Whether section 10-4 of the Election Code mandates that a candidate's nomination petition is invalid if the circulator's affidavit on each sheet fails to comply with the requirements imposed by that statute; and

(5) Whether it would be unconstitutional to remove these candidates from the ballot.

Before stating the material facts, it is necessary to briefly explain the applicable candidacy requirements. To be eligible for the office of school board member, the candidates were required to file verified statements of economic interests. (Ill. Const. 1970, art. 13, § 2; Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 127, par. 604A-101(g).) These statements had to be filed with the county clerk (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 127, par. 604A-106) no later than the end of the period for filing nomination papers. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 127, par. 604A-105(a).) The Constitution expressly provides that "Failure to file a statement within the time prescribed shall result in ineligibility for, or forfeiture of, office." Ill. Const. 1970, art. 13, § 2.

In addition, section 10-4 of the Election Code requires that each sheet of a nomination petition include a sworn statement from the person who circulated the sheet. This affidavit must include (1) the circulator's residence address and (2) a certification that the circulator believes that the people who signed the petition were registered voters of the applicable district who gave their correct residence addresses. Section 10-4 expressly provides that "No signature shall be valid or be counted in considering the validity or sufficiency of [a nomination] petition unless the requirements of this Section are complied with." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 46, par. 10-4.

Three of the candidates (Miller, Steiner and Flanagan) filed their statements of economic interests with the secretary of the school board rather than with the county clerk. It was not until two days after the filing deadline expired that the secretary forwarded these statements to the county clerk. (Braun's statement of economic interests was timely filed with the county clerk.)

Despite the requirements of section 10-4, the circulator's affidavit on each sheet of the nomination petitions filed by Braun, Miller and Steiner failed to include (1) the circulator's residence address and (2) a certification that the circulator believed that the people who signed the petitions were registered voters of the school district who gave their correct residence addresses.

Apparently each of the candidates obtained their petition sheets from the secretary of the school board. However, on the sheets submitted by Flanagan, all the information required by section 10-4 (except the residence address of the circulator) has been typed in at the end of the affidavits. And, because both Flanagan and Braun circulated their own petitions, the residence addresses of each of these candidates is included at the top of each sheet of their petitions.

Appellant's objections sought to have the candidates removed from the ballot on the grounds that they were either ineligible for office or that their nomination petitions were invalid. Nevertheless, the electoral board found that there was "substantial compliance" with the disputed provisions, and it overruled the objections.

OPINION

I

The electoral board contends that we have no jurisdiction to hear these appeals because the statute which provides for circuit court review of electoral board decisions (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1979, ch. 46, par. 10-10.1) does not mention appellate review. Accord, Lawrence v. Board of Election Commissioners (1977), 45 Ill. App.3d 776, 360 N.E.2d 168; Petterson v. Scoville (1980), 83 Ill. App.3d 746, 404 N.E.2d 795; contra, Gilbert v. Municipal Officers' Electoral Board (1981), 97 Ill. App.3d 847, 423 N.E.2d 952.

The 1870 Illinois Constitution provided that Illinois appellate courts> had jurisdiction to hear "such appeals and writs of error as the general assembly may provide * * *." (art. 6, § 11.) See, e.g., article 8 of the Civil Practice Act as it existed before the judicial article of the 1870 Constitution was amended. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1963, ch. 110, pars. 74-82.

But, under both the 1964 amendment to the judicial article of the 1870 Constitution (art. 6, § 7, as amended) and the 1970 Constitution (art. 6, § 6), there is a constitutional right of appeal to the appellate court from all "final judgments" of the circuit court, except where direct appeal to the supreme court is provided or the judgment is an acquittal in a criminal case.

• 1 The electoral board does not argue that the rulings of the circuit court (denying appellant's petitions for judicial review) were not "final judgments" in those proceedings. Because our jurisdiction to hear appeals from final judgments of the circuit court is granted by the Constitution, it is of no ...


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