Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fifth Division
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County. No. 15 COEL 000003. The Honorable David A. Skyrd, Judge, presiding.
Where plaintiff sought judicial review of the Board of Election Commissioners' decision not to print his name on the ballot for alderman in a city election because he failed to file a " Statement of Economic Interests" and did not personally witness each person sign his petition sheets, the appellate court affirmed the trial court's dismissal of plaintiff's petition for judicial review pursuant to defendant's objection alleging that plaintiff did not comply with the Election Code requirement that the petition be filed by certified or registered mail and failed to name the commissioners in the petition.
Curtiss Llong Bey, of Chicago, appellant pro se.
Burton S. Odelson and Lauren B. Glennon, both of Odelson & Sterk, Ltd., of Evergreen Park, for appellee.
JUSTICE GORDON delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Palmer and Justice Reyes concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] On January 5, 2014, the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners notified
plaintiff Curtiss Llong Bey of its decision not to print his name on the February 24, 2015, ballot for alderman of the ninth ward of the City of Chicago. Plaintiff then filed a petition for review with the circuit court. On January 8, 2015, defendant George Brown objected to plaintiff's petition for judicial review on the basis that plaintiff: (1) failed to comply with the service provisions of section 10-10.1 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/10-10.1 (West 2012)) requiring service by registered or certified mail; and (2) failed to name the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners (Election Board) in his petition for review.
[¶2] On January 14, 2015, the circuit court dismissed the matter for lack of jurisdiction. For the following reasons, we agree and dismiss the appeal.
[¶4] I. The Election Board
[¶5] Plaintiff Curtiss Llong Bey filed a nominating petition seeking to place his name on the February 24, 2015, ballot as a candidate for alderman of the ninth ward in the City of Chicago.
[¶6] Defendant George Brown filed an " Objector's Petition" alleging: (1) that plaintiff failed to file a " Statement of Economic Interest" ; and (2) that plaintiff signed each of 66 petition sheets containing approximately 900 signatures as a witness to those signatures, and that plaintiff did not personally witness each and every person sign his or her name.
[¶7] Plaintiff responded in a document dated December 16, 2014, that he had filed a Statement of Economic Interest and that his signatures were in order.
[¶8] On January 5, 2015, the Electoral Board issued its " Findings and Decision," in which it stated that a hearing officer had held an evidentiary hearing on the issue of whether plaintiff had witnessed every signature. Plaintiff testified at the hearing, and the hearing officer " found that the Candidate's testimony that he witnessed all of the signatures that he swore to have witnessed was not credible and thus called into question the integrity of all of his petition sheets." Accordingly, the hearing officer found an appearance of fraud and ruled that the petition should be invalidated and the objections sustained.
[¶9] The Electoral Board adopted the hearing officer's recommended findings and conclusions of law, and ordered that plaintiff's name not be printed on the ballot for the general election to be held on February 24, 2015.
[¶10] The last page of the Electoral Board's decision contains a " Notice" which appears in bold after the signatures of the three commissioners, and it reads in full:
" Pursuant to Section 10-10.1 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/10-10.1), a party aggrieved of this decision and seeking judicial review of this decision must file a petition for judicial review with the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County within 5 days of service of the decision of the Electoral Board."
[¶11] There was no dispute before the circuit court that plaintiff filed his subsequent petition within five days of service of the decision of the Electoral Board, as the above notice directed him to do. The issue was whether plaintiff acted fully " [p]ursuant to Section 10-10.1 of the Election Code" (10 ILCS 5/10-10.1 (West 2012)) as the notice also instructed. This statutory section is quoted in full in our Analysis section below.
[¶12] II. The Circuit Court
[¶13] On January 8, 2015, plaintiff filed a petition with the circuit court entitled " Candidate's Petition." Plaintiff asked for dismissal of the objector's petition on the grounds: (1) ...