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Foster v. Municipal Officers Electoral Bd

OPINION FILED MARCH 30, 1983.

CLARENCE E. FOSTER ET AL., PETITIONERS-APPELLANTS,

v.

THE MUNICIPAL OFFICERS ELECTORAL BOARD ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. Joseph Schneider, Judge, presiding.

JUSTICE O'CONNOR DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Petitioners, Clarence E. Foster, Susan J. Smith and Deborah A. Shepler, registered voters from their respective wards in the city of Countryside, Illinois, filed objections to the nominating petitions of the Independent Party of Countryside and its candidates and asked that the party and its candidates be removed from the April 12, 1983, ballot for election to municipal offices in the city of Countryside. Respondents Carl W. Le Gant, Walter H. Klimcke and Donald M. Orndorff are respectively the party's nominees for the offices of mayor, clerk and treasurer. Respondents Roger J. Baas, Joseph P. Ficaro and Willard L. Schuessler are the party's nominees for aldermen. Respondents Walter P. Dahl, Martin F. Brodkin and P.A. Sorrentino constitute the municipal electoral board of the city of Countryside.

The electoral board denied the objections. Petitioners filed a petition for judicial review under section 10-10.1 of the Election Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 46, par. 10-10.1). The circuit court, after a hearing, upheld the ruling of the electoral board. Petitioners appeal, contending that the nominating petitions should have been stricken because (1) the Independent Party of Countryside was an established political party which was required to nominate its candidates by a primary election and not by petition, and (2) the name "the Independent Party of Countryside" violated section 10-5 of the Election Code (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 46, par. 10-5), in that it is the same name as that of an established political party or includes the name of an established political party.

The record discloses:

The city of Countryside is divided into three wards. Each ward is represented by two aldermen. The mayor, clerk and treasurer run city-wide every four years. The aldermen also run every four years, except that their terms are staggered so that ward elections are held every two years.

In the April 1979 municipal election, the Independent Party of Countryside elected a mayor (Le Gant), a clerk (Klimcke), a treasurer (Orndorff), and three aldermen. The 2nd Ward aldermanic candidate was Ficaro, and the 3rd Ward candidate, Schuessler. In that election, all the candidates except the 1st Ward aldermanic candidate were elected and the party and all its candidates received over 5% of the vote cast. The Independent Party of Countryside thereby became an established political party in the city.

In the April 1981 municipal election, a party named "Countryside Independent Party" elected one alderman from each ward; in wards 1 and 2 the candidates were incumbents. The candidate in ward 3 was new. The party and each of its candidates received more than 5% of the vote cast at that election. The Countryside Independent Party thereby became an established political party. The Independent Party of Countryside had no candidates in that election.

In January 1983, a party named the "Independent Party of Countryside" filed its nomination papers for the April 12, 1983, election for a full slate of candidates, mayor (Le Gant), clerk (Klimcke), treasurer (Orndorff), 1st Ward alderman (Baas), 2nd Ward alderman (Ficaro), and 3rd Ward alderman (Schuessler).

Petitioners contend that the Independent Party of Countryside, although it ran no candidates in the last municipal election in the municipality (April 1981) and thus did not receive more than 5% of the vote in that municipal election, continued, because of the 1979 election, to be an established political party under section 10-2 of the Election Code and was required to nominate its candidates by primary and not by petition.

Petitioners also contend that the name "Independent Party of Countryside" is the same name as "Countryside Independent Party" which became an established political party in that 1981 election and thus violated section 10-5 of the Election Code.

Respondents contend that the Independent Party of Countryside ceased to be an established political party when it did not run candidates in the last municipal election in 1981 and, accordingly, did not obtain more than 5% of the vote in that municipal election. They also contend that the name "Independent Party of Countryside" is not the same as the name "Countryside Independent Party."

The Electoral Board found:

a) Independent Party of Countryside is not an established political party in the city of Countryside;

b) Independent Party of Countryside is not the same name as Countryside Independent Party, nor is it the same name as any established ...


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