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Rita H. Cortez, Patricia Twymon, ) Appeal From the Anthony Smith v. Municipal Officers Electoral Board Honorable For the City of Calumet

February 25, 2012

RITA H. CORTEZ, PATRICIA TWYMON, ) APPEAL FROM THE ANTHONY SMITH, REGINALD WHITLEY, ) CIRCUIT COURT OF WILBUR TILMAN, DEJUAN GARDNER, COOK COUNTY. RAMONDE WILLIAMS, TYHANI HILL, AND LARRY CABALLERO, PETITIONERS-APPELLEES,
v.
MUNICIPAL OFFICERS ELECTORAL BOARD HONORABLE FOR THE CITY OF CALUMET CITY, EDMUND PONCE DE LEON, ADOLF AGUILAR, RANDY BARRON, JUDGE PRESIDING. BETTY BOLES, JOSEPH L. CASTELLANOS, GUY EVELAND, ROBERT FREDRICKSEN, STEVON GRANT, DEBORAH HAYNES-SHEGOG, CASSANDRA HOLBERT, BERNICE M. MCCLENDON, SALIMAH MUHAMMAD, ANNIE M. SMITH, AND CARRIE SPAULDING, RESPONDENTS-APPELLANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Gordon

JUSTICE GORDON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.

Justices Hall and Reyes concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

¶ 1 In the case at bar, the respondent, Municipal Officers Electoral Board for the City of Calumet City (the Board) was persuaded by certain objections made to the nominating papers of nine Democratic candidates for various offices in Calumet City; and, thus, the Board ruled that the candidates' names could not be placed on the ballot for the February 26, 2013, consolidated primary election. The circuit court of Cook County reversed the Board's order, and the Board now appeals to us. This appeal concerns the candidacy of the following nine candidates: Rita Cortez, Patricia Twymon, Anthony Smith, Reginald Whitley, Wilbur Tilman, DeJuan Gardner, RaMonde Williams, Tyhani Hill, and Larry Caballero,. For the reasons stated below, we reverse the Board's decision with respect to the first eight candidates and, thus, find that their names may remain on the ballot. However, we affirm the Board's decision with respect to Larry Caballero and, thus, find that his name may not remain on the ballot.

¶ 2 BACKGROUND

¶ 3 I. Facts Relating to All Nine Candidates

¶ 4 An objection common to the nominating papers of all nine candidates was that the words in the notarization, "who is to me personally known," were omitted on the candidates' "Statement of Candidacy."

¶ 5 Section 7-10 of the Election Code provides that the notarization on this statement "shall be in substantially the following form[:]"

"Subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed) before me by *** who is to me personally known, on (insert date)." (Ellipsis and parentheses in original.) 10 ILCS 5/7-10 (West 2010).

¶ 6 In contrast, the notarization on the statements of these nine candidates stated only: "Signed and sworn to (or affirmed) by *** before me, on ***." The Board sustained this objection with respect to all nine candidates.

¶ 7 II. Facts Relating Only to Caballero

¶ 8 The objections which pertained only to candidate Larry Caballero concerned his "Statement of Economic Interests." Caballero was required to file a Statement of Economic Interests that would have provided information on his dealings with Calumet City. Instead, he completed a Statement of Economic Interests that was designed to provide information on his dealings with a different government entity, namely, the State of Illinois.

¶ 9 Our state statute requires candidates for office to provide a "Statement of Economic Interests." There is one form for candidates for state-wide office which poses questions pertaining to the State of Illinois (5 ILCS 420/4A-103 (West ; and there is a different form for candidates for local office which asks questions pertaining to the local unit of government at issue (5 ILCS 420/4A-104 (West 2010)) which, in the case at bar, was Calumet City. As will be discussed later, there are substantial differences between the two forms.

¶ 10 For whatever reason, whether inadvertence or deliberate intent, Caballero chose to file the form for statewide candidates which asked questions about his connections with the State of Illinois. Thus, he was never faced with the questions about his connections to Calumet City. On the form that he did file, he answered "N/A" or "not applicable" to every question.

ΒΆ 11 As a result, there was an objection made that Caballero failed to file a Statement of Economic Interest as required by law. An additional objection was made that he failed to file a receipt for the filing of the Statement of Economic Interest with the Cook County clerk by the end of the filing period. The Board ...


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