February 24, 2012

By: Alan M. Mullins

There have been substantial changes to the School Code and the Election Code that affect the candidate process for school board elections.  Effective immediately, school board members will no longer be involved in the electoral process.  That is good news for school districts as they will no longer have to devote employee time and district money to various electoral duties.  The changes bring a bit of a burden to school board candidates, however, as they will no longer have the convenience of filing nomination paper s at the local school district office. Instead, the petitions must be filed at the county clerk’s or board of election commissioners’ office. If a school district is located in more than one county, the nomination papers are filed with the county clerk or county board of election commissioners of the county in which the school district administrative offices are located.    In addition, other proceedings such as candidate lotteries and objection hearings will also be conducted at those less convenient offices.

Even with these statutory changes, the receipt showing that the candidate filed a statement of economic interests with the county clerk must be filed with the county clerk or the board of election commissioners along with the nomination petitions. The former requirement of filing this receipt with the school district has been eliminated. And as before, it is not enough that incumbent board members filed a statement of economic interests with the county clerk earlier in the year, the receipt still needs to be file d with the county clerk during the filing period.

The School Code previously provided that school districts could make petition forms available for candidates and give notice of the petition filing period.  Now it provides that those courtesies may be extended by the county clerk or the county board of election commissioners. With the recent changes, however, the General Assembly failed to prohibit school districts from continuing to provide these courtesies. Thus, school districts can continue to extend those courtesies if they wish.  In light of the changes to the School Code and Election Code, there will be new nomination forms for the 2015 school board elections.

Before the recent legislative changes, there were a number of duties school districts performed because nomination papers were filed there.  Such duties included conducting a lottery for candidates who simultaneously filed when the doors opened on the first day for filing,  giving candidates certain notices and receipts,  receiving objections and conducting objection hearings,  and certifying candidates.  School districts no longer have these duties.  Objections to nomination papers will now be filed with the county clerk or the county board of election commissioners.  If the school district is located in parts of two counties, the objection hearing might not even be conducted in the county in which the candidate lives.  Additionally, objections will be heard by the county officer’s electoral boards and those boards usually hear objections during daytime hours.  With these changes, it is possible that some potential school board candidates will be deterred from running for office or defending their petitions, or some objectors will be deterred from objecting to petitions.  School board elections rarely want for dramatic flair and with the recent legislative changes, the April 2015 school board elections will certainly be interesting.

Updated School Board Nomination Petition For The 2011 Election

September 29, 2010

By: Alan M. Mullins

The first day school board candidates could circulate nomination petitions was September 21, 2010.  School districts can, but are not required to, make copies of petitions available to candidates. Based on information provided to us by the Illinois State Board of Elections, in an e-blackboard dated September 13, 2010, we previously reported to you that the petition for school board candidates had not changed since the last election. However, we recently learned the petition underwent minor revisions.  Previously, “IL” appeared in the section for voters’ signatures under the column labeled “County”.  It now appears under the column before that labeled “City, Town or Village”.  There are no other revisions to the petition except that it states “Revised May, 2009” at the top.

A copy of the new petition can be accessed by clicking on the following link:  School Board Nomination Petition for the 2011 Election.

Recent Election Code Amendments.

 September 13, 2010

By: Alan M. Mullins

This year, as in past years, Scariano, Himes and Petrarca is publishing an Election Manual for use by school districts in conjunction with the April 5, 2011 election.  The Election Manual is a “how to” guide with practical recommendations regarding compliance with the Election Law.  The Manual describes the entire election process from candidate nomination to the certification of candidates and will be mailed to clients by early October.

In the meantime, you should be aware that the first day for circulating nomination petition sheets is September 21, 2010.  You are not required to provide petition sheets to candidates, but may do so.  The petition sheets have not been changed since the last election.  If you need a copy of the petition sheet and/or the statement of candidacy, please contact Alan M. Mullins at 312-565-3100, Ext. 236 or

If you would like to receive an electronic copy of the election manual, please provide your email address by clicking here.

New Legislation Requires Referendum Petitions And Candidate Nomination Papers To Be Filed, And Referendum Resolutions To Be Approved, Earlier Than In The Past

July 12, 2010

By: Alan M. Mullins

On July 6, 2010, the Governor signed into law legislation amending the Illinois Election Code.  The legislation changes the deadlines for voters to file petitions proposing referenda and for boards of education to approve resolutions proposing referenda.  The legislation also changes the period for school board candidates to file their nomination papers.  Those actions must now occur significantly earlier before the election than in the past.

Previously, voters had to file petitions proposing referenda at least 70 days before the election.  Those petitions must now be filed at least 92 days before the election.  School boards had 65 days prior to an election to approve resolutions proposing referenda.  They now must approve those resolutions at least 79 days before the election.  Last, school board candidates previously had to file their nomination papers between 78 and 71 days before the election.  Now they must file their nomination papers between 113 and 106 days before the election.

The following list identifies the dates by which petitions and nomination papers have to be filed, and resolutions have to be approved, for the next three elections.

November 2, 2010 Election

  •     Voters referendum petition - Monday, August 2, 2010.
  •     Board referendum resolution - Sunday, August 15, 2010 (extended to Monday, August 16, 2010).

February 22, 2011 Election

  •     Voters referendum petition - Monday, November 22, 2010.
  •     Board referendum resolution - Sunday, December 5, 2010 (extended to Monday, December 6, 2010).

April 5, 2011 Election

  •     Voters referendum petition - Monday, January 3, 2011.
  •     Board referendum resolution - Sunday, January 16, 2011 (extended to Tuesday, January 18,     2011 due to Martin Luther King Day).

Nomination papers for school board candidates must be filed starting on Monday, December 13,2010 and ending on Monday, December 20, 2010.

Other than on legal school holidays, the district must have someone at the district office during normal business hours (except for December 20, 2010 when the office must remain open until 5:00 p.m.) to accept petitions, even if the dates above fall within Winter Break.

If you have any questions regarding the dates discussed above or the election process, please contact Alan Mullins at (312)565-3100, ext. 236.