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Nolan v. Cook County Officers Electoral Board

March 29, 2002

MARY NOLAN, PETITIONER-APPELLANT,
v.
COOK COUNTY OFFICERS ELECTORAL BOARD, CONSTITUTING THE ELECTORAL BOARD INDIVIDUALLY AND AS SUCH BOARD, DAVID D. ORR, COOK COUNTY CLERK, DOROTHY BROWN, CLERK OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, RICHARD A. DIVINE, STATE'S ATTORNEY OF COOK COUNTY, AND PATRICK G. DONNELLY, RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County No. 02 CE 004 The Honorable Susan Fox Gillis, Judge Presiding.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Presiding Justice Cohen

UNPUBLISHED

Mary Nolan filed a nominating petition in support of her candidacy for the office of Illinois senator for the 18th legislative district. Patrick G. Donnelly filed an objection to Nolan's nominating petition. Donnelly raised no question as to the authenticity of the signatures themselves; rather, he argued that the circulator's affidavit on each of the petition's 70 signature sheets was flawed as a matter of law and that the signature sheets should be stricken. The Cook County Officers Electoral Board (Board) agreed and struck the signature sheets. Because Nolan was then unable to satisfy the minimum signature requirement, the Board declared her nominating petition invalid and removed her name from the ballot to be voted on at the primary election of March 19, 2002. Nolan filed a petition for judicial review in the circuit court of Cook County. After a hearing, the circuit court affirmed the decision of the Board.

We allowed an expedited appeal pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 311 (155 Ill. 2d R. 311). Because we find that Nolan has substantially complied with the requirements of the recent amendment to section 8-8 of the Election Code (Pub. Act 92-129, §5, eff. July 20, 2001 (amending 10 ILCS 5/8-8 (West 2000))), we reverse both the decision of the Board and the judgment of the circuit court and order Nolan's name restored to the ballot. *fn1

BACKGROUND

Mary Nolan sought nomination as a candidate for Illinois senator for the 18th legislative district in the March 19, 2002, Democratic primary. In support of her candidacy, Nolan filed a nominating petition containing 1,333 signatures on 70 separate pages. On each of the signature pages, the following prefatory language is present:

"We, the undersigned members of and affiliated with the DEMOCRATIC PARTY and qualified primary voters of the DEMOCRATIC PARTY in the State of Illinois, do hereby petition that the following named person shall be a candidate of the DEMOCRATIC PARTY for nomination to the office hereinafter specified, to be voted for at the primary election to be held on the 19th day of March, 2002.

Name

MARY NOLAN

Address

10338 SOUTH PARKSIDE, UNIT 23, OAK LAWN, IL 60453

Office

STATE SENATOR

Distri ...


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