ELECTION LAW

The decision to run for elected office is one that should not be made without first consulting and retaining an attorney with experience in the area of election law. Whether you choose to run for a municipal, local, statewide or federal office, our attorneys can guide you through the overlapping and confusing laws governing the formation of your political committee, fundraising, economic interest disclosure statements and the preparation and filing of nomination papers. Our attorneys will work closely with the candidate and his or her political committee and staff. While many state and local election authorities may offer election guides and handbooks, these guides and handbooks are not substitutes for the retention of an experienced election attorney. Our attorneys can provide you with informed and thoughtful advice and counsel in the following areas:

Committee Formation, Organization and Preparation of Nomination Papers

The initial step in the process of becoming a candidate for elected office is the legal formation of a campaign committee and the proper state and federal organizational filings. These filings include corporate organizational filings, federal tax filings, state and federal election organizational and fundraising filings and the preparation and filing of your nomination papers, including statements of economic interests.

Election Litigation

Elections can be won or lost before voters cast a single vote at the polls. These election victories occur through the successful defense or prosecution of challenges to a candidate’s nomination papers. While the election challenges take place in advance of the election, the time period in which such challenges are prepared, filed and tried is extremely short. Most election challenges are completed within weeks after being filed. Likewise, election challenges that end up in the Circuit, Appellate and/or Supreme Court proceed on an expedited basis at an extremely fast pace. Our expertise in this area of law allows us to quickly and effectively launch challenges against opponents and raise strong defenses to any candidate being challenged.

Defense of Your Nomination Papers

The successful defense of your nomination papers starts well before any candidate prepares and circulates his or her nomination papers to registered voters. Errors in the printing, signature gathering, certification, binding and filing of a candidate’s nomination papers cannot be corrected once filed. As a result, a candidate should seek and receive advice and counsel from an attorney at this critical stage. After you have filed your nomination papers, any registered voter residing in the district in which you are seeking elective office may file a challenge to your nomination papers seeking to remove you as a candidate for office. Our attorneys are experienced in successfully defending challenges to nomination papers to ensure that your name appears as a candidate on the ballot.

The Election Challenge - Increasing Your Electability through Ballot Management

You or your Committee may decide to file a challenge against the nomination papers of a candidate running against you for the same office. We assist clients with the investigation and review of their opponents’ nomination papers to identify mistakes, errors and fatal flaws and to determine whether a challenge would be successful. Our attorneys pride themselves on providing a creative, thorough and aggressive investigation and prosecution of each election challenge.

If you decide to file a challenge against another candidate, we will represent you or the registered voter serving as the Objector in the prosecution of the Objector’s Petition. The prosecution of the Objector’s Petition includes ordering and reviewing the Nomination Papers of the candidate, training and supervising staff to review the registration and signature records, preparing the Objector’s Petition and any other filings, and representing you or the Objector at administrative hearings related to the Objector’s Petition.

Judicial Review and Appeal

A candidate that is removed from the ballot during the election challenge process may seek judicial review of the Electoral Board’s decision by filing a Petition for Judicial Review. Likewise, an Objector whose Petition is denied, stricken or dismissed by the Electoral Board, may seek judicial review in the same manner. Our attorneys have successfully represented clients in the defense and prosecution of a Petition for Judicial Review in the circuit courts.

A candidate or objector whose Petition for Judicial Review is denied may file an appeal to the Illinois Appellate Court, or in some rare cases, directly to the Illinois Supreme Court. Our attorneys are experienced in successfully prosecuting and defending such matters in the appellate courts.

The judicial proceedings at all levels occur on an expedited basis, often with parties only being given days to prepare extensive briefs and present oral arguments. Our attorneys are well-versed in this area of law and can quickly and effectively provide the advocacy that you need to be successful.

Other Election Matters

Our attorneys are also experienced in representing candidates, political campaigns and/or citizens in many other election related matters, including the following:

  • Campaign ethics reporting and violations
  • Campaign finance reporting violations
  • Campaign fundraising violations
  • Organization of political action committees
  • Post-Election Investigations
  • Discovery Recounts
  • Election Recounts

Representative Cases

Samuelson v. Cook County Officers Electoral Board, 2012 Ill. App. 1st 120581 (1st Dist. 2012)
Successfully defended candidate from opponent’s challenge to remove candidate from the ballot because of a single errant page in a nomination petition consisting of hundreds of pages of valid signatures.

Mitchell v. Cook County Officers Electoral Board, 399 Ill. App. 3d 18 (1st Dist. 2010)
Represented candidate challenging opponent’s candidacy based on candidate’s and candidate’s circulators’ fraudulent conduct in procuring petition signatures.

Zamparo v. Cook County Officers Electoral Board, Case No. 1-10-2787 (1st Dist. 2010) (unpublished)
Represented candidate challenging opponent’s candidacy based on faulty reliance of signature requirements obtained from an Illinois State Board of Elections publication.

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