Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Fourth Division
SUSAN M. PATE and MAX SOLOMON, Plaintiffs-Appellants,
ISAAC R. WISEMAN, in His Official Capacity as Clerk and Local Election Official for the Village of Hazel Crest, Cook County, Illinois, and KAREN YARBROUGH, in Her Official Capacity as Cook County Clerk, Defendants-Appellees The Village of Hazel Crest; Municipal Central Committee of the Democratic Party for the Village of Hazel Crest; and Vernard Alsberry Jr., Chairperson of the Municipal Central Committee of the Democratic Party for the Village of Hazel Crest and in His Official Capacity as Democratic Party Township Committeeman for Bremen Township, Cook County, Illinois, Intervenors-Appellants.
from the Circuit Court of Cook County 2019 COEL 000025
Honorable Sharon M. Sullivan, Judge Presiding
PRESIDING JUSTICE McBRIDE delivered the judgment of the
court, with opinion. Justices Gordon and Lavin concurred in
the judgment and opinion.
McBRIDE PRESIDING JUSTICE
1 Plaintiffs, Susan M. Pate and Max Solomon, filed an
emergency complaint in mandamus against Isaac R.
Wiseman, in his official capacity as clerk and local election
official for the Village of Hazel Crest, and Karen Yarbrough,
in her official capacity as Cook County Clerk (collectively,
defendants), seeking an order directing defendants to place
plaintiffs' names on the ballot as slated candidates of
the Democratic Party for the office of trustee of the Village
of Hazel Crest. The Village of Hazel Crest (Village), the
Municipal Central Committee of the Democratic Party for the
Village of Hazel Crest (Committee), and its chairperson,
Vernard Alsberry Jr., in his official capacity as Democratic
Party Township Committeeman for Bremen Township
(collectively, intervenors), filed a petition to intervene,
which the circuit court allowed, and thereafter, the court
denied plaintiffs' complaint in mandamus. In
this court, plaintiffs contend that the court erred in
granting the intervenors' petition to intervene and in
denying plaintiffs' complaint in mandamus.
2 The record shows that on November 26, 2018, Wayne M.
Johnson, Helen J. Nowels, and Tiffanni Y. Human filed
nomination papers as slated candidates of the Democratic
Party for nomination to three available offices of trustee of
the Village, at the February 26, 2019, primary election. No
other candidates filed nomination papers seeking nomination
of the Democratic Party for those offices by the end of the
3 Pursuant to the provisions of the Election Code, objections
to nomination papers were to be filed by December 3, 2018 (10
ILCS 5/10-8 (West 2016)), but none were filed against the
slated candidates. Accordingly, Johnson, Nowels, and Human
were automatically nominated uncontested, and a primary was
not required for the three available trustee offices in the
February 26, 2019, primary election.
4 Thereafter, on January 22, 2019, Johnson and Nowels
executed affidavits stating that they declined the
nominations and requested that their names not be certified
as candidates for the office of trustee for the Village.
5 On January 24, 2019, plaintiffs filed nomination papers
with the office of Isaac R. Wiseman, clerk of the Village.
The papers included, among others, documents titled
"Resolution to Fill a Vacancy in Nomination of Wayne M.
Johnson occurring where no Party Primary" and
"Resolution to Fill a Vacancy in Nomination of Helen J.
Nowels occurring where no Party Primary." Those
Resolutions were executed by Human, who stated that, as
"the remaining candidate serving as party officer of the
Democratic Party in and for the Village of Hazel Crest,"
she "voted to nominate a candidate of the Democratic
Party to fill [each] vacancy." Accordingly, Human
"nominate[d]" Pate to fill the vacancy of Johnson,
and Solomon to fill the vacancy of Nowels.
6 On January 28, 2019, Wiseman issued notice to Human that he
was "in receipt of two separate proposed nominations
which you have made as 'the remaining party candidate as
party officer of the Democratic Party in and for the Village
of Hazel Crest,' to fill the Johnson and Nowels'
vacancies." Wiseman informed Human that the Election
Code provision allowing nominations to be filled by a
party's remaining candidate applied only in cases
"of political parties other than a statewide political
party," which did not include the Democratic Party.
Accordingly, Wiseman informed Human that the "proposed
nomination is not in apparent conformity with the applicable
provisions of the Illinois Election Code. Under these
circumstances, my office will not be certifying the name of
either Ms. Pate or Mr. Solomon as Democratic Party candidates
for the office of Trustee in and for the Village of Hazel
7 On February 19, 2019, plaintiffs filed an emergency
complaint in mandamus with the circuit court,
contending that Wiseman "ha[d] failed and refused to
certify" plaintiffs' names "in violation of the
Illinois Code" and that plaintiffs were entitled to
8 On February 22, 2019, the intervenors filed their petition
to intervene in plaintiffs' mandamus action,
alleging that the court should allow them to intervene either
as "a matter of right or at the discretion of the
Court." Specifically, the intervenors asserted that the
Village's interests would be directly affected and
"bound by a judgment" rendered in this matter, and
that the judgment would "directly impact the operations
of the Village, the rights of voters of in [sic] the
Village, and any potential financial liability." As for
the Committee, the intervenors argued that its interests
"derive[d] from its statutorily mandated role to conduct
and make appointments to fill vacancies in nomination and to
ensure that its sole authority to act in an official capacity
on behalf of the Democratic Party within the Village of Hazel
Crest is unimpeded and is not fraudulently claimed by another
individual or entity." The intervenors alternatively
argued that permissive intervention should be allowed because
"the defense of the Intervenors['] rights and
interests at issue in this matter involve common questions of
law and fact. The defense of the Village's interests and
the defense of the Committee's interests should be
allowed in order to protect the voting rights of the citizens
of the Village of Hazel Crest."
9 That same day, February 22, 2019, the court set a briefing
schedule on the complaint and the petition to intervene and
set the matters for hearing on March 7, 2019.
10 On February 26, 2019, Wiseman and the intervenors jointly
filed their "motion to dismiss, and response in
opposition to complaint in mandamus." On March 1, 2019,
the plaintiffs filed their "Response to proposed
Intervenors' petition to intervene; and Reply to
Defendants' motion to dismiss & response in
opposition to complaint in mandamus." On March 5, 2019,
Wiseman and the intervenors filed their "reply."
11 On March 7, 2019, the circuit court entered an order
granting the intervenors' petition to intervene both as
of right and as a matter of discretion and denying
plaintiffs' complaint in mandamus "[f]or
the reasons stated in open court." The circuit court
specifically found that plaintiffs had "no clearly
ascertainable right" to the relief sought. No transcript
of the March 7, 2019, hearing appears in the record on
appeal. Plaintiffs filed a notice of appeal from that order
the same day, ...