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Schwartz v. Kinney

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

March 9, 2016

JACK A. SCHWARTZ, Petitioner-Appellant and Cross-Appellee,
v.
KAREN KINNEY, Rock Island County Clerk; LOUISA A. EWERT and CHRISTINA PAYNE, Members of the Rock Island Electoral Board; and DOUGLAS E. HOUSE, Respondents-Appellees and Cross-Appellants

Page 60

         As Corrected.

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 14th Judicial Circuit, Rock Island County, Illinois. Circuit Nos. 15-MR-1131, 15-MR-1132 and 15-MR-1165. Honorable Jeffrey O'Connor, Judge, Presiding.

         For Jack A. Schwartz, Appellant: Mr. Stephen T. Fieweger, Stephen T. Fieweger, P.C., Davenport, IA.

         For Louisa Ewert R.I. Co. Electoral Brd. Member, Douglas E. House, Karen Kinney Rock Island County Clerk, Christina Payne R.I. Co. Electoral Brd. Member, Appellees: Ms. Carrie L. Clark, McCarthy, Callas & Feeney, P.C., Rock Island, IL.

          Justice Carter concurred in the judgment and opinion. Justice Holdridge specially concurred, with opinion.

          OPINION

Page 61

          O'BRIEN, PRESIDING JUSTICE

          [¶1] Petitioner, Jack A. Schwartz, sought to be placed on the 2016 Democratic primary ballot as a candidate for Rock Island County State's Attorney. Respondents, Karen Kinney, Louisa A. Ewert, Christina Payne, and Douglas E. House, brought two objections to petitioner's candidacy. The objections were grounded upon: (1) petitioner's alleged failure to properly identify the circulator on his nominating petitions; and (2) petitioner's residence.

          [¶2] The Rock Island electoral board (the Board) overruled respondents' residency objection. However, it allowed the circulator objection. Consequently, the Board struck petitioner's nomination and excluded his name from the primary ballot on the basis of the circulator objection. The circuit court affirmed the Board's decision. Petitioner now appeals the circulator finding. Respondents, in turn, cross-appeal the residency finding.

          [¶3] Upon review, we hold the Board correctly allowed the circulator objection. We therefore affirm the Board's decision striking petitioner's nomination and excluding his name from the primary ballot. We do not address respondents' cross-appeal--the residence objection.

         [¶4] FACTS

          [¶5] The Board allowed the circulator objection on the grounds that the circulator's signature on certain nomination petitions did not match the typed name found in the circulator affidavit. Each nomination petition contains 10 individual voter signatures supporting petitioner's candidacy. All of petitioner's nomination petitions include the typed name of petitioner in the affidavit paragraph, which is found at the bottom of each page. However, several petitions are sworn to and signed by Amy Schwartz, not petitioner. Amy is petitioner's wife. Below is a copy of one of the affidavits signed by Amy.

          [Image Omitted]

Page 62

          [¶6] Amy testified before the Board as follows:

" Mr. Fieweger [petitioner's counsel] asked, 'Is that your signature on the bottom of those pages?'
Ms. Schwartz answered, 'Yes.'
Mr. Fieweger asked, 'Were you the circulator of those petitions?'
Ms. Schwartz answered, 'Yes.'
Mr. Fieweger asked, 'Do you live at 921 Mississippi...uh...'
Ms. Schwartz answered, 'Yes.'
* * *
Mr. Fieweger asked, 'And, did you have your signature witnessed by a notary public on each of those pages?'
Ms. Schwartz answered, 'Yes.'
Mr. Fieweger stated, 'I have no further questions. Thank you.'
Ms. Schwartz asked Jack [petitioner], 'Jack, do you want to say we were together at the time they were filed or ...

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