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April 22, 2024

Shelby Township Petition Objection Hearing Process – Part 1

By Kirk Allen & John Kraft

On January 5, 2017

Shelby Co. (ECWd) –

Over the past week, we have brought you coverage of the positive actions of the Shelby Township Electoral Board as it relates to taking the right steps to follow the law as it refers to the Open Meetings Act.  Those stories are here, and here.

Robin Robertson, who is currently the Township Road Commissioner, filed two objections regarding election packets turned into the Township.  His objections can be found below.

One thing we have found in many parts of downstate Illinois is that electoral boards tend to be very political and have one agenda in mind, throw off those of opposing political positions regardless of what the law says and hope they don’t take the case to the courts for judicial review of their actions.

It appears matters before the Shelby Township Electoral Board is moving in the direction of judicial review unless they once again accept their errors of handling things and follow the law.

The election objection process is rather simple……., provided you have done extensive legal research, have a strong grasp of statutory construction, and understand it was designed by lawyers.  OK, it’s not rather simple.  Becuase of that, we are going to go step by step as to how this process works and explain why the objections filed by Robertson can not legally stand.

Step one – File an objection

Sounds simple enough however the filing of an objection triggers certain legal obligations that the objector must follow in order for those objections to be validated in an election hearing and upheld in a Judicial review.   One must understand the differences of keywords like “shall” and “may” and how those words impact a legal case, which an objection hearing is because it is subject to judicial review by the courts.

In the case of Robertson, his objections, in our opinion, are legally deficient and we are confident that the Shelby Township Electoral Board will do nothing more than cost the taxpayers money if they allow these objections to ever be heard in light of the deficient objection papers.

Specifically, as it applies to the objector, the law states the following: “The objector’s petition shall give the objector’s name and residence address, and shall state fully the nature of the objections to the certificate of nomination or nomination papers or petitions in question, and shall state the interest of the objector and shall state what relief is requested of the electoral board.”

Please note that an objection must comply with mandated items outlined above.  Based on the mandated items we highly recommend Robertson contact the proper authorities and withdraw his objections for the following reasons.

“A candidate’s nomination papers are deemed valid absent an objection that is in conformity with the requirements of the Election Code. See Druck v. Illinois State Board of Elections, 387 Ill. App. 3d 144 (2008).”

With that in mind, we find that Robertson’s objections fail to comply with 3 of the 5 requirements in the election code.

  • failed to list objector’s residence address
  • failed to state objector’s interest in the objection
  • failed to state what relief objector requested of the electoral board. Hagen v. Stone, 277 Ill. App. 3d 288, 390, 213 Ill. Dec. 932, 660 N.E. 2d 189 (1995).  Additionally, this issue is waived if it is not raised by respondent. Hagen, 277 JI/. App. 3d at 390, 213 Ill. Dec. 932, 660 N.E. 2d 189.

With Robertson’s failure to comply with the election law as outlined, it is our opinion, which is consistent with case law, the electoral board must dismiss the objections and place the names being objected to on the ballot.

Anything short of doing the right thing, in this case, will tell the public their actions are more about political parties than compliance to the law.  Time will tell!

In addition, anyone that has ever read civil cases has more than likely come across a page or two that talked about relief.  You see, a Judge, or an Electoral Board, can not give any relief in a case if it was not asked for.  In the case of Robertson’s objections, he makes no prayer for relief of any kind.  That being the case, none can be given.

Part II of this series will address how such a dismissal should take place to include the posting of the current motions filed with the Shelby Township Electoral Board directly related to this matter.

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