Appellate Court Applies No-Party-Switching RuleAuthor: Michael J. Smoron
October 28, 2016
An Illinois Appellate Court recently affirmed a decision refusing to grant a ballot position for an individual to run as an independent candidate for Lake County Coroner after withdrawing his candidacy to run as a Democrat. For context, this individual, the incumbent Democratic Coroner, withdrew from the Coroner primary shortly before the primary took place.
After requesting to run as an independent in the general election, the Electoral Board found that the individual was disqualified from running as an independent candidate due to section 7-43 of the Election Code, otherwise known as the no-party-switching rule. The relevant portion of section 7-43 reads as follows:
“A person (i) who filed a statement of candidacy for a partisan office as a qualified primary voter of an established political party or (ii) who voted the ballot of an established political party at a general primary election may not file a statement of candidacy as a candidate of a different established political party or as an independent candidate for a partisan office to be filled at the general election immediately following the general primary for which the person filed the statement or voted the ballot. A person may file a statement of candidacy for a partisan office as a qualified primary voter of an established political party regardless of any prior filing of candidacy for a partisan office or voting the ballot of an established political party at any prior election.”
The individual subsequently appealed the decision of the circuit court, which had affirmed the Electoral Board’s finding.
On appeal the appellate court affirmed, noting that the disqualification was designed to prevent potential confusion in scenarios such as this. Moreover, the appellate court also held that the statute did not violate this individual’s constitutional rights.