JULIE A. SCHMIDT, Plaintiff-Appellant,
THE ILLINOIS STATE BOARD OF ELECTIONS; STATE OFFICERS ELECTORAL BOARD; CHARLES W. SCHOLZ, ERNEST L. GOWEN, WILLIAM J. CADIGAN, ANDREW K. CARRUTHERS, BETTY J. COFFRIN, JOHN R. KEITH, WILLIAM M. McGUFFAGE, and CASANDRA B. WATSON, All in Their Official Capacities as Members of the Duly Constituted State Officers Electoral Board; JOHN A. CUNNINGHAM, Not Individually but in His Capacity as Kane County Clerk; DAVID ORR, Not Individually but in His Capacity as Cook County Clerk; and ANNA MOELLER, Defendants-Appellees.
from the Circuit Court of Sangamon County, No. 16-MR-22; the
Hon. John P. Schmidt, Judge, presiding.
Jeffrey A. Meyer (argued) and Peter Thomas Smith, of Klein,
Stoddard, Buck & Lewis, LLC, of Sycamore, for appellant.
Michael J. Kasper (argued), of Fletcher, Topol, O'Brien
& Kasper, P.C., of Chicago, and James M. Morphew, of
Sorling Northrup, of Springfield, for appellee Anna Moeller.
Madigan, Attorney General, of Springfield (Richard S.
Huszagh, Assistant Attorney General, of counsel), for other
JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices Turner and Holder White concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 In December 2015, plaintiff, Julie A. Schmidt, filed a
petition with the Illinois State Board of Elections, sitting
as the State Officers Electoral Board (Board), objecting to
the nominating papers of defendant, Anna Moeller, a
Democratic candidate for the office of Representative in the
Illinois General Assembly for the 43rd Representative
District. In response, Moeller filed a motion for summary
judgment, which the Board granted. On judicial review, the
circuit court affirmed the Board's decision. Schmidt
appeals, arguing Moeller's nominating papers were invalid
because, during the same election cycle, she signed both her
own statement of candidacy as a Democratic Party candidate
and the nominating petition of a Republican Party candidate
in violation of section 8-8 of the Election Code (10 ILCS
5/8-8 (West 2014)). We affirm.
2 I. BACKGROUND
3 The undisputed facts demonstrate that, on September 5,
2015, Moeller signed petition sheets in support of her
nomination as the Democratic Party candidate for the office
of Representative for the 43rd District. On September 26,
2015, she signed a petition sheet for Sandy Wegman, a
Republican Party candidate who sought nomination for the
office of Kane County Recorder. On November 23, 2015, Moeller
filed her own nomination papers with the Board to place her
name on the March 15, 2016, primary election ballot as a
candidate for the office of Representative for the 43rd
District. Her papers included a signed statement of
candidacy, notarized on November 19, 2015, in which she
asserted that she was "a qualified primary voter of the
4 On December 7, 2015, Schmidt filed a verified
objector's petition with the Board, objecting to
Moeller's nomination papers. She cited section 8-8 of the
Election Code (10 ILCS 5/8-8 (West 2014)), which provides
that "[a] 'qualified primary elector' of a party
may not sign petitions for or be a candidate in the primary
of more than one party." Schmidt argued Moeller violated
that section by signing the nominating petition of a
Republican Party candidate and running for office as a
Democratic Party candidate. She asked that the Board declare
Moeller's nominating papers and petition defective or
invalid and bar Moeller's name from being printed on the
March 15, 2016, primary election ballot.
5 On December 16, 2015, Moeller filed a motion for summary
judgment. She agreed with Schmidt's assertion that
"a person may not sign the petitions of more than one
political party in any particular primary election."
However, Moeller cited the First District's decision in
Watkins v. Burke, 122 Ill.App.3d 499, 461 N.E.2d 625
(1984), for the proposition that "when a person signs
for more than one political party at the same election, the
first signature in time is valid and all subsequent
signatures for a different political party are invalid."
Moeller alleged she signed her own nominating petition and
those of other Democratic Party candidates prior to signing a
petition for Wegman, a Republican Party candidate. Thus, she
maintained she affiliated herself with the Democratic Party
prior to signing Wegman's petition and, as a result, her
own nominating papers were valid.
6 On December 23, 2015, a hearing was conducted before the
Board's hearing officer. On January 5, 2016, the hearing
officer recommended that the Board grant Moeller's motion
for summary judgment and overrule Schmidt's petition in
its entirety. On January 7, 2016, the Board conducted a
hearing in the matter. It granted Moeller's motion for
summary judgment and overruled Schmidt's objection. The
Board found as follows: "[Moeller's] Statement of
Candidacy does not violate Section 8-8 of the Election Code
because [Moeller] has not impermissibly signed a nominating
petition for a candidate of one established political party
and subsequently run as a candidate for another established
political party in the same election cycle; rather,
[Moeller's] first act of political affiliation was to
align herself with the Democratic Party by signing her own
petition. The act of signing a Republican candidate's
petition after signing her own Democratic petition and before
seeking nomination as a Democratic Party candidate rendered
[Moeller's] signature on the Republican petition invalid
but did not invalidate her petition."
7 On January 12, 2016, Schmidt filed a petition for judicial
review of the Board's decision pursuant to section
10-10.1 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/10-10.1 (West 2014)).
On February ...