Consequences of a Clerical Mistake In Nominating Petitions Signed by Voters
In Zapolsky v. Cook County Officers Electoral Board, 296 Ill. App. 3d 731, 695 N.E.2d 1329, 231 Ill. Dec. 210 (1998), the First District was faced with a statement of candidacy and a statement of economic interest that correctly listed the office sought but nominating petitions that did not list the correct office.
The statement of candidacy and the statement of economic interest both stated that the petitioner was running for "'Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago to fill the vacancy for the unexpired two (2) year term.'" Zapolsky, 296 Ill. App. 3d at 732.
The petitions for nomination, however, stated the office sought as "'Commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago.'" Zapolsky, 296 Ill. App. 3d at 732.
The court found that the "apparent purpose of the nominating petitions signed by voters is to expand the informed participation of members of the respective parties in their primary election." Zapolsky, 296 Ill. App. 3d at 734.
Further, the court held:
"Nominating petitions should be free from a 'basis for confusion' as to the office for which they are filed.
A potential signatory to a nominating petition has the right to know the specific vacancy sought by the candidate so that the signatory may make an informed decision to sign the petition or support another candidate for the same vacancy." Zapolsky, 296 Ill. App. 3d at 734.
Because it was uncontroverted that there were numerous vacancies on the reclamation district and that the petitioner obtained signatures from registered voters while failing to inform them of the specific vacancy sought, the court held that the petitioner did not strictly or substantially comply with section 7-10. Zapolsky, 296 Ill. App. 3d at 734-35.
In the court's opinion, the nominating petitions were not free from a "basis for confusion" regarding the office sought. Zapolsky, 296 Ill. App. 3d at 735.