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04/18/97 DAVID M. ZERANTE v. BLOOM TOWNSHIP

April 18, 1997

DAVID M. ZERANTE, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
BLOOM TOWNSHIP ELECTORAL BOARD; AND ITS MEMBERS, ROBERT LUEDER, GENE EENIGENBURG, AND DANIEL WOOTEN; DAVID D. ORR, COOK COUNTY CLERK; JIM GRUPP AND ROBERT DEBOLT, RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY. HONORABLE CURTIS HEASTON, JUDGE PRESIDING.

Released for Publication June 2, 1997.

The Honorable Justice Hoffman delivered the opinion of the court. Hartman, P.j., and Hourihane, J., concur.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hoffman

The Honorable Justice HOFFMAN delivered the opinion of the court:

The petitioner, David M. Zerante, filed the instant appeal from an order of the circuit court affirming a decision of the Bloom Township Electoral Board (Board). The Board sustained the objections of Jim Grupp and Robert DeBolt to the nomination papers of the petitioner as a candidate for the office of Bloom Township Supervisor in the election of April 1, 1997, and ordered that the petitioner's name be excluded from the ballot. Because the imminence of the April 1 election mandated a prompt resolution of this matter, we ordered an expedited briefing schedule and took the case under advisement without oral argument. On March 27, 1997, we entered an order affirming the circuit court in this matter, and stated that our opinion would follow. We now render that opinion.

At a caucus of the Democratic Party held on January 14, 1997, John David DeSimone was nominated for the office of Bloom Township Supervisor. On February 18, 1997, DeSimone withdrew his name as a candidate and declined his party's nomination. Thereafter, the petitioner was named as the Democratic candidate to fill the vacancy in nomination created by the withdrawal of DeSimone, and his nomination papers were filed on February 25, 1997.

Grupp and DeBolt filed identical objections to the petitioner's nomination papers on March 3, 1997, alleging, inter alia, that: 1) the petitioner's statement of candidacy failed to conform to the provisions of section 7-10 of the Election Code (Code) (10 ILCS 5/7-10 (West 1994)); 2) the resolution to fill the vacancy in nomination (resolution) filed with the petitioner's statement of candidacy failed to comply with the provisions of section 7-61 of the Code (10 ILCS 5/7-61 (West 1994)); and 3) the petitioner filed multiple resolutions. After a hearing, the Board sustained the objections and issued a written decision dated March 14, 1997. The Board found that: the petitioner's statement of candidacy failed to state his party affiliation or that he was a "qualified primary voter" of the Democratic Party as required pursuant to section 7-10 of the Code (10 ILCS 5/7-10 (West 1994)); the petitioner filed multiple statements of candidacy, resolutions, and statements of economic interest; the petitioner filed conflicting resolutions, one of which was not signed by the Democratic Committeeman of Bloom Township as required by section 7-61 of the Code (10 ILCS 5/7-61 (West 1994)); and the resolutions were defective by reason of their failure to specify the date upon which the petitioner was selected to fill the vacancy created by the withdrawal of DeSimone as required by section 7-61 of the Code (10 ILCS 5/7-61 (West 1994)). Based upon its findings, the Board declared the petitioner's nomination papers legally insufficient, and ordered that his name not be printed on the ballot for the April 1, 1997, election.

The petitioner filed a petition for judicial review of the Board's decision in the circuit court on March 17, 1997. The circuit court affirmed the Board's decision on March 21, 1997, and this appeal followed.

Section 7-61 of the Code provides in pertinent part, as follows:

"Any vacancy in nomination under the provisions of this Article 7 occurring on or after the primary and prior to certification of candidates by the certifying board or officer, must be filled prior to the date of certification. Any vacancy in nomination occurring after certification but prior to 15 days before the general election shall be filled within 8 days after the event creating the vacancy. The resolution filling the vacancy shall be sent by U.S. mail or personal delivery to the certifying officer or board within 3 days of the action by which the vacancy was filled; provided, if such resolution is sent by mail and the U.S. postmark on the envelope containing such resolution is dated prior to the expiration of such 3 day limit, the resolution shall be deemed filed within such 3 day limit. Failure to so transmit the resolution within the time specified in this Section shall authorize the certifying officer or board to certify the original candidate.

The resolution to fill a vacancy in nomination shall be duly acknowledged before an officer qualified to take acknowledgements of deeds and shall include, upon its face, the following information:

(a) the name of the original nominee and the office vacated;

(b) the date on which the vacancy occurred;

(c) the name and address of the nominee selected to fill the vacancy and the date of selection. " (Emphasis ...


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