2016-2017 SH&P ELECTION MANUAL RELEASED; COOK COUNTY CLERK UNVEILS NEW ONLINE "RUNNING FOR OFFICE STARTER KIT"

By Adam Dauksas

October 14, 2016

    Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd. is pleased to share with you its 2016-2017 Election Manual, which is attached.

    Additionally, last week, the Cook County Clerk’s Office released its new online “Running for Office Starter Kit.”  This application allows suburban Cook County residents to enter their address and, depending on where they live, then provides all of the available offices for which they can run.  Once a specific office is chosen, the “Running for Office Starter Kit” then shows a wealth of information related to that office (e.g. previous election results, what forms must be filed by a candidate and where to file them, and the number of seats to be elected).  Finally, the “Running for Office Starter Kit” will generate a candidate packet that prepopulates the Statement of Candidacy, Petition, and Loyalty Oath (which is optional) forms with the user’s information, thereby reducing the likelihood of costly candidate filing mistakes (Note: The program does not produce a Statement of Economic Interest form, which is required to be filed by school board candidates).

 Tag:     Elections

SCHOOL DISTRICTS NO LONGER HAVEANY DUTIES REGARDING SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS

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 ne ws 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 wer e 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  conductingobjection  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 he aring might not even be conducted in the county in which the candidate lives.  Additionally, objections will be heard by the county officers 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 fr om 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.

SCHOOL DISTRICTS NO LONGER HAVE ANY DUTIES REGARDING SCHOOL BOARD ELECTIONS

February 16, 2013

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 ne ws 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 wer e 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  conductingobjection  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 he aring might not even be conducted in the county in which the candidate lives.  Additionally, objections will be heard by the county officers 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 fr om 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.

Q & A - District Obligations Under the Amended Election Code

November 9, 2010

By  Alan M. Mullins

Public Act 96-1008 moved the time period for filing candidate nomination papers from the second and third weeks of January to the second and third weeks of December.  For the April, 2011 school board election, the first day for filing nominating petitions is December 13, 2010, and the final day is December 20, 2010. The period for filing objections to nominating petitions begins after the last day for filing and continues for the five business days following the final filing date.  Accordingly, the last day for filing objections is December 28, 2010.  The amended Election Code provides that the office of the local election official, often the board or district secretary, must be open until 5 p.m. of that last day, regardless of the regular closing time for the office.  Given that most school districts will likely be out for winter break during at least a portion of the five business day period for filing objections, questions have arisen as to how a school district’s local election official can satisfy the legal requirements of the amended Election Code.

 Does the District’s Administrative Office have to remain open each business day during the time period for filing objections?

 Yes.  The time period for filing objections begins Tuesday, December 21, 2010 and ends at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday December 28, 2010.

What hours must a District’s Administrative Office Remain Open During the Objection Period?

District offices must remain open for at least seven hours on each of the five days objections may be filed.  The Election Code defines a “business day” as “any day in which the office of (the school district) is open to the public for a minimum of 7 hours.”  Days on which the office is not open for at least seven hours would not be a “business day” as defined by the Election Code.

Does the District’s Administrative Office have to remain open on December 23, 2010?

Yes.  Friday, December 24, 2010 is a State holiday.  However, Thursday, December 23, 2010 is not a State holiday. Accordingly, a District’s administrative offices must remain open on December 23, 2010.

We acknowledge that there are differing opinions and interpretations of the provisions of amended Election Code discussed herein.  While our reading of the statute is narrow and our advice conservative, a District minimizes its risk of violating the statute by remaining open for seven hours each business day during the objection period including on December 23, 2010, with the District’s administrative office remaining open until 5:00 on December 28, 2010.

If you have any specific questions regarding when your District’s office must remain open during the objection period, please contact Alan Mullins at 312-565-3100, Ext. 236 or  amullins@edlawyer.com.

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 amullins@edlawyer.com.

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.

Principal Evaluations and School Polling Places

IMPORTANT FEBRUARY ISSUES

 January 11, 2008

Changes to the School Code and Criminal Code present deadlines and challenges for school districts. The School Code requires an evaluation of principals, while the Criminal Code prohibits registered sex offenders from entering school building polling places.

1.           PRINCIPAL EVALUATION

The School Code requires evaluation plans for principals. For principals with a one-year contract, the principal must be evaluated by February 1 of each year.

Principals with multi-year contracts must be evaluated by February 1 of the final year of the contract.

The evaluation is to be completed in writing by the Superintendent or designee (with a Type 75) and must do all of the following: 

I.         Consider the principal's duties, responsibilities, management, and competence as principal;

  • Specify the principal's strengths and weaknesses with supporting reasons; and
  • "Align with the Illinois Professional Standards for School Leaders or research-based district standards". A copy of the evaluation must be provided to the principal and a copy must be placed in the principal's personnel file.

Failure to provide at least one evaluation during the contract period, prior to February 1 presumes satisfactory performance and automatically extends the contract for one year, under the same terms and conditions.

Please contact A. Lynn Himes (312-565-3100, ext. 233 or ahimes@edlawyer.com) with any questions you may have regarding this topic.

2.           CHANGES IN THE ELECTION CODE/CRIMINAL CODE

The Illinois Criminal Code has been amended to prohibit registered child sex offenders from entering a school polling place. Thus, the Election Code has been amended to permit registered sex offenders whose polling place is a school to either vote absentee OR at a location mandated by the local election commission.

The offender must file a request with the local election commission for an absentee ballot or vote early at another location. The local election commission must designate a place at which a registered sex offender can vote.

Practically, we are advising that you contact your local election commission and request it to provide to its election Judges a list of voters who are registered sex offenders. The Illinois State Police is responsible for notifying the local election commissions with the names of registered sex offenders in the area. Finally, if your school has on site security personnel, it may be worthwhile to advise the security staff of the situation and be ready to enlist their support in removing individuals who are prohibited from entering your buildings. In the alternative, you may wish to consult with your local law enforcement agency to discuss how this new prohibition will be enforced locally. Please contact Kevin P. Camden (312-565-3100, ext. 255 or kcamden@edlawyer.com) with any questions you may have regarding this topic.