The Standard for Judicial Review of the Board of Elections Dismissals
The supreme court, in Cook County Republican Party v. Illinois State Board of Elections, defined the standard for judicial review of the Board's dismissals.
The court stated, "In our view, this inquiry presents a mixed question of fact and law.
As noted, an agency's decision on a mixed question of fact and law is reviewed for clear error. Cinkus v. Village of Stickney Municipal Officers Electoral Board, 228 Ill. 2d 200, 211, 886 N.E.2d 1011, 319 Ill. Dec. 887 (2008).
The standard of review is deferential, providing for reversal only when the reviewing court has a definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made. Cinkus, 228 Ill. 2d at 211." CCRP II, 2009 Ill.
Our supreme court concluded, "The dismissal of the complaints may be reviewed by considering whether the members voting to dismiss clearly erred in determining that they were not filed on justifiable grounds." CCRP II, 2009 Ill.
In Cook County Republican Party v. Illinois State Board of Elections, No. 106139, 232 Ill. 2d 231, 902 N.E.2d 652, (January 23, 2009) (CCRP II), the supreme court reviewed the appellate court's opinion in Cook County Republican Party v. State Board of Elections, 378 Ill. App. 3d 752, 882 N.E.2d 93, 317 Ill. Dec. 519 (2007) (CCRP I), which the Court mentioned in our initial opinion in this matter. See Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, 382 Ill. App. 3d at 65.
In CCRP II, the supreme court held, "a plain reading of sections 9-21 and 9-22 compels us to conclude that the tie-vote dismissals of these complaints are subject to judicial review in the appellate court under the provisions of the Administrative Review Law." CCRP II, 2009 Ill.
The court then determined that "the scope of review under the Administrative Review Law extends to 'all questions of law and fact presented by the entire record before the court.' 735 ILCS 5/3-110 (West 2004). Our supreme court next held that the absence of specific factual findings adopted by the majority of the Board did not prevent or impede review.
In so doing, our supreme court cited Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee v. Federal Election Comm'n, 265 U.S. App. D.C. 372, 831 F.2d 1131 (D.C. Cir. 1987) (which this court relied upon in our initial opinion (Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, 382 Ill. App. 3d at 62)), in holding that "meaningful review of a deadlock vote may be accomplished by examining the reasons of the Board members voting to dismiss the complaint." CCRP II, 2009 Ill.
Our supreme court held, in CCRP II, that there was no need to remand the matter to the Board for a statement of the reasons for dismissal.
The court's determination was based on the fact that the Board in that case had adopted the recommendation of its general counsel, which contained a "detailed explanation for finding the complaints were not filed on justifiable grounds." CCRP II, 2009 Ill.
The court concluded that the general counsel's recommendation, therefore, sufficiently disclosed the grounds for the decision by the members of the Board voting to dismiss the complaints. CCRP II, 2009 Ill.