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Lawsuit filed over law forbidding post-primary legislative slating

Monday, May 13, 2024 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Daily Herald

Four would-be state legislative candidates, including one from Northbrook, are suing state officials over a new law forbidding political parties from slating candidates after primary elections.

The plaintiffs — all Republicans — also are seeking an emergency temporary restraining order to prevent enforcement of the law so they can appear on Nov. 5 ballots. The lawsuit names the Illinois State Board of Elections and state Attorney General Kwame Raoul as defendants. […]

The elections board has said it will accept petitions from slated candidates by a previously set June 3 deadline, and it is encouraging such candidates to file. The board will consider any challenges to those petitions filed by June 10 — again, as scheduled.

The elections board — comprised of four Democrats and four Republicans — will hold hearings to consider any objections. Those likely would be held July 9, a board spokesman has said.

* Their legal argument

Article III, Section 1 of the 1970 Illinois Constitution guarantees the right to vote to every United States citizen of at least 18 years of age who has been a permanent resident of Illinois for at least 30 days preceding any election.

“Legislation that affects any stage of the election process implicates the right to vote.” Tully v. Edgar, 171 Il. 2d 297, 307 (1996) (emphasis in original). Thus, “the right to vote is implicated by legislation that restricts a candidate’s effort to gain access to the ballot.” Id., citing Anderson v. Schneider, 67 III. 2d 165, 172-73 (1977).

But for P.A. 103-0586, Plaintiffs would comport with the provisions of 10 ILCS 5/8-17 (2023) and 10 ILCS 5/7-61 and stand as candidates for office in the November election.

Plaintiffs were all designated to fill the vacancies in nomination by their respective Representative or Legislative Committees prior to the enactment of P.A. 103-0586.

P.A. 103-0586 removed the provisions of 10 ILCS 5/8-17 that would allow Plaintiffs to gain access to the ballot, after that process had already begun.

P.A. 103-0586 impairs the rights of suffrage exercised by Plaintiffs and others in the 2024 general election by restricting Plaintiffs’ efforts to gain access to the ballot by changing the rules in the middle of that process.

‘When the means used by a legislature to achieve a legislative goal impinge upon a fundamental right, the court will examine the statute under the strict scrutiny standard.” Tully, 171 Il. 2d at 304.

The Illinois Supreme Court has recognized that the right to vote is a fundamental constitutional right, essential to our system of government. Fumarolo v. Chicago Board of Education, 142 Il. 2d 54, 74 (1990).

The elimination of the process of filling ballot vacancies used by Plaintiffs set forth in P.A. 103-0586 does not advance a compelling state interest in preventing Plaintiffs from accessing the ballot in the November 2024 general election.

The provision of P.A. 103-0586 eliminating the process of filling ballot vacancies used by Plaintiffs is not necessary to achieve the legislation’s goal.

Nor are the provision of P.A. 103-0586 eliminating the process of filling ballot vacancies used by Plaintiffs the least restrictive means available to attain the legislation’s goal.

The fact that P.A. 103-0586 would prohibit Plaintiffs from accessing the November 2024 general election ballot using the process set forth in Section 7-61 of the Election Code as it existed prior to the enactment of P.A. 103-0586, but would permit other candidates to be listed on the November 2024 general election ballot who completed the process set forth in Section 7-61 of the Election Code prior to P.A. 103-0586’s enactment is sufficient to show that P.A. 103-0586, as applied to Plaintiffs, fails strict scrutiny.

P.A. 103-0586, as applied to Plaintiffs, fails strict scrutiny analysis and, thus, unconstitutionally restricts Plaintiffs’ fundamental rights to suffrage by negating their efforts to gain access to the ballot.

Plaintiffs need immediate relief from the revisions to 10 ILCS 5/8-17 in order to lawfully comply with the June 3, 2024, deadline to file their nomination petitions with the Illinois State Board of Elections.

* Tully v. Edgar dealt with a new law that ended the terms of elected University of Illinois trustees. The Supreme Court sided with the trustees

Legislation that nullifies the votes cast in a valid election and removes the elected trustees from office midterm is not necessary to or narrowly tailored to achieve the legislature’s presumed goal. There is no suggestion that the currently elected trustees are incompetent. Nor is there any assertion that the immediate removal of those trustees is necessary to improve the quality of education at the University of Illinois.

Moreover, it is evident that the legislature’s goal could be achieved by other means that would not impinge upon the fundamental right to vote. The legislature could certainly provide that, upon the expiration of the terms of office of the currently elected trustees, successor trustees will be appointed rather than elected. We conclude that the section of the Act which provides for the removal of the elected trustees midterm is not necessary to achieve the legislature’s presumed goal. Nor is the immediate removal of the elected trustees the least restrictive means of achieving that presumed goal. We therefore hold that the portion of the Act that removes the sitting trustees from office does not meet the strict scrutiny standard and is violative of the right to vote guaranteed under the Illinois Constitution.

Fumarolo v. Chicago Board of Education is here.

       

3 Comments
  1. - DougChicago - Monday, May 13, 24 @ 8:56 pm:

    A typical nothing burger–and waste of time by the GOP. These appointed people rarely win. And in the past most times it was Dems jamming the GOP. The timing makes it smell — make that stink — of opportunism and maybe the court will seize on that. But, in the end, none of these GOP appointees will come close to winning.


  2. - Rich Miller - Monday, May 13, 24 @ 9:12 pm:

    ===The timing makes it smell — make that stink — of opportunism and maybe the court will seize on that===

    Which is why it’s worth a shot.


  3. - Frida's boss - Monday, May 13, 24 @ 9:36 pm:

    When I did it it was ok and right because I was on the correct side. Now that someone else wants to do it they shouldn’t because their reasons aren’t pure.


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