Meroni, Petitioner-Objector v. Howland, Respondent-Candidate.

11 SOEB GP 512

MOTION TO STRIKE AND DISMISS THE OBJECTOR’S PETITION NOW COMES Respondent-Candidate, Amanda Howland, by her attorney Michael J. Kasper and moves to strike and dismiss the Objector’s Petition, and in support thereof states as follows: A. The Candidate’s Nomination Papers are in Full Compliance with The Requirements of the Illinois Election Code.

Candidate’s seeking partisan nomination for office in the Illinois General Assembly are required to submit certain papers as provided in Article 8 of the Illinois Election Code. 10 ILCS 5/8-1 (“The nomination of all candidates for members of the General Assembly by all political parties … shall be made in the manner provided in this article 8 and not otherwise.”). Article 8 requires such candidates to submit three separate documents in order to qualify for a position on the ballot in a primary election. First, a candidate must submit a Statement of Candidacy. 10 ILCS 5/8-8. Second, a candidate must submit a nominating petition signed by the requisite number of voters from the applicable district. Id. Third, a candidate must also submit a receipt reflecting his or her filing of a Statement of Economic Interests with the office of the Secretary of State. Id. These are the only three documents that Article 8 (or any other law, for that matter)

requires candidates to file. In this case, the Objector’s Petition does not dispute that the Candidate filed all of the requisite forms, or that any of her forms were not in full compliance with the law. In fact, Section 8-8 specifically sets forth the text for the Statement of Candidacy. Objector does not assert that the Candidate’s Statement of Candidacy is anything other than what it is: a verbatim recitation of the statutory form. Instead, Objector claims that the Candidate’s nomination papers are invalid because she failed to file something additional to the specific requirements. In particular, Objector asserts (incorrectly, by the way) that “[t]here is a complete absence of any public documents as the Board of Elections verifying the citizenship of this or any other candidate…” Obj. Petition, ¶ 12. As a result, according to Objector, the Candidate’s candidacy should be declared “insufficient” and her name should be removed from the ballot. The gist of the complaint is that a candidate ought to be required to submit a birth certificate or some other proof of citizenship along with their nomination papers. Assuming for the moment that Objector is correct, and that there are no documents “verifying” the Candidate’s citizenship, the Objector’s Petition must be dismissed. Section 8-1 provides that nominations for office in the General Assembly are governed by Article 8 and “not otherwise.” 10 ILCS 5/8-1. Because nothing in Article 8 requires candidates to supplement their filings with documentary evidence, and Article 8 is the exclusive method for seeking partisan nomination to the General Assembly, Objector’s claims are groundless and should be dismissed. Objector correctly points out that the qualifications for the Illinois General Assembly are set forth in Article IV, Section 2(c) of the Illinois Constitution. Ill.Const.1970, Art. IV, § 2(c). These include: (a) citizenship; (b) age; and (c) durational residency. Id. Objector suggests candidates are required to submit extrinsic “proof” of the first qualification. But if so, what

about the other two? If one is required to document proof of the first constitutional qualification, then that requirement should apply equally to the second and third qualifications too. But how is one to verify compliance with a residency requirement? Should candidates submit mortgage payments, lease agreements, utility bill, family photos? The Illinois General Assembly has, through the enactment of election laws, enumerated the documents that potential candidates must file in order to qualify for the ballot. While perhaps it could have done so, it has not chosen to require candidates to file anything more than a Statement of Candidacy, a petition, and the Statement of Economic Interests receipt. Objector’s Petition should therefore be dismissed. B. The Candidate’s Nomination Papers Do Verify that She is a United States Citizen.

Objector is wrong when she suggests that there is no evidence of citizenship in the Candidate’s nominating papers. The Candidate’s Statement of Candidacy contains the specific clause “that I am legally qualified to hold such office…” as part of its text. As stated above, being qualified for the office means being a U.S. citizen, being 21 years of age, and satisfying the two-year durational residency requirement. Ill.Const.1970, Art. IV, § 2(c). Section 8-8 also provides that the Statement of Candidacy must be “subscribed and sworn” by the candidate “before some officer authorized to take acknowledgement of deeds in this State….” 10 ILCS 5/8-8. Objector does not contest that the Candidate’s Statement of Candidacy was properly sworn to before an Illinois Notary Public. As a result, the Candidate’s nomination papers contain a sworn statement, subject to the penalties of perjury, that the Candidate is “qualified” for the office. Of course, a person cannot be qualified for the office unless he or she satisfies the Constitutional eligibility criteria, which includes citizenship. In fact, Objector nowhere asserts that the Candidate is not, in fact, a citizen. Instead, she

suggests that candidate’s should be required to file additional documentation, beyond the notarized Statement of Candidacy, to establish compliance with the constitutional qualifications. While the wisdom of such a requirement is debatable, the appropriate place to have that debate is in the General Assembly, not the Electoral Board. This Board has solely the authority to enforce the laws that are on the books today, and that simply is not one of them. Accordingly, the Objector’s Petition should be dismissed. WHEREFORE, for the foregoing reasons, Respondent-Candidate respectfully prays that the Motion to Strike and Dismiss be granted. Respectfully submitted, Respondent-Candidate

By:______________________ One of her attorneys

Michael J. Kasper 222 N. LaSalle, Suite 300 Chicago, IL 60601 312.704.3292 312.368.4944

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