(Edit: November 10, 2011: Defend the Vote has decided against taking Meroni V ISBE to the Illinois Supreme Court. Rather, we will initiate a fresh challenge in December 2011 and January 2012. Defend the Vote will post a special objection petition for use by anyone that wants to participate in the challenge of candidates applying to be on their ballot during the 2 upcoming legal contest periods. We will post fresh information next week, and you can listen to Steven Boulton and Sharon Meroni discussing this latest update HERE)
If someone is placed on your ballot, does that mean they are constitutionally eligible? Who assures candidates placed on the ballot are constitutionally eligible?
These are the two of the central questions in Meroni v ISBE. This case began in June 2010 when I challenged all Third Party candidates during the qualification process for ballot placement in Illinois. [i] I asked each candidate to prove they are constitutionally eligible for ballot placement. Some proved that they were, some did not respond and some candidates filed a motion to dismiss my objections.
The Illinois State Board of Elections dismissed my objection petitions, and the Illinois 7th Judicial Circuit Court affirmed the ISBE decision.
The case has been with the Fourth District Appellate Court. While I personally started the process pro se, Steve Boulton of the prestigious law firm, McCarthy Duffy, joined the case for the appellate process. Steve has a strong background in election law in Illinois and has won an election case before the Illinois Supreme Court. Steve’s opinion has always maintained that the 4th District Appellate Court would not take this issue up and that our real recourse is with the Illinois Supreme Court. As usual, Steve’s expertise was spot on!
Last week the Fourth District Appellate Court decided not to take up the issue, ruling that it was “Moot.” The decision is posted Here on Scribd
Next week, Mr. Boulton will file a 20 page brief seeking for the Illinois Supreme Court to rule on the constitutional issues involved in this case. As is common with Supreme Court issues, the Illinois Supreme Court does not have to hear the case. Reoccurring US and Illinois Constitutional issues are involved so there is a reasonable opportunity for this to be heard.
Regardless, Defend the Vote will assist all voters in Illinois seeking to challenge candidates who want to be on their ballot to prove they are constitutionally eligible. The qualification process for ballot placement is going on right now as candidates acquire required signatures on their petitions.
In mid November, Defend the Vote will post an objection petition for use by anyone that wants confirmation that candidates applying for ballot position are constitutionally eligible. The objection process last for 5 days in the late fall.
More updates to follow this weekend. You can read more about the case here.
[i] My process of learning about qualification for ballot placement began during the 2010 election cycle. I missed the qualification process for the Primary Day election of the three main political parties in Illinois: Democrat, Republican and Green. That is the reason I only challenged third party candidates.