GENERAL ORDER NO. 21- Electoral Boards

The following procedures shall govern the nomination by the Chief Judge of a public member of an electoral board pursuant to Section 10-9 of the Election Code (10 ILCS 5/10-9).

A. The member of the electoral board, the officer of board with whom the petitions are filed, or a party to a case before the board shall notify the Chief Judge of the need to appoint a public member. The notification shall be in writing, be signed and may be in the form of a letter. The notification may be signed by an attorney representing the electoral board, the party, or representing the officer with whom the petitions are filed. The written notification may be sent by facsimile transmission to the Chief Judge at 312-603-5366 with a courtesy copy to the Presiding Judge of the County Division at 312-603-4351 and the original must be immediately hand-delivered or mailed to the Chief Judge. All public members, by virtue of their appointment, shall be considered officers of the court.

B. The written notification shall include:

1. The name and address of the objector(s), and the objector's attorney, if known;

2. The name and address of the respondent candidate(s) or respondent referendum proponents, and of the respondent’s attorney, if known;

3. The substance of the referendum or title of the office sought by the candidate, the applicable governmental district and the date of the election;

4. A copy of the ballot of certification which was or soon will be filed with the Cook County Clerk;

5. The names and titles of the three persons (or more in case of a seniority tie) who would normally constitute the electoral board if there were no statutory disqualifications necessitating the appointment of a public member;

5A. When one member of the normally constituted electoral board has a disqualification on any grounds, the next senior member of the city council or board of trustees shall serve. If the next senior member is disqualified the vacancy shall be filled by a public member pursuant to this order.

5B. Members of an electoral board must be disqualified on due process grounds if they have a personal or direct pecuniary interest in the outcome of a case or if one of the members would properly be called as a necessary witness in a case and therefore required to judge his or her own testimony. However electoral board members do not have a disqualifying interest because they may be political allies or opponents of a party in a case or merely because they are familiar with the facts of the case. Neither may a statutory member cause a vacancy to be filled by this General Order by a personal preference or convenience of that statutory member not to sit or merely because a party has requested such disqualification .

5C. In the case of a request for the appointment of a public member for any reason other than a statutory disqualification, the applicant must fully detail the grounds of the alleged disqualifying interest in the member(s) sought to be replaced and must show that the electoral board proceedings will contain an unacceptable risk of bias.

6. If the public members are requested to hear more than one objector's petition, the number of separate objections to be considered by each respective electoral board;

7. The date and time scheduled in the Call for the first electoral board meeting and the place thereof, if known;

8. The name, address, telephone and fax number of a contact person to receive the appointment by the Chief Judge.

C. The Presiding Judge of the County Division shall maintain a written list of persons willing to serve as public members of electoral boards. This list may be changed or updated as needed. The Presiding Judge shall include only those persons known to be knowledgeable in election law.

D. The Chief Judge shall immediately transmit the written notification to the Presiding Judge of the County Division. The Presiding Judge shall contact persons on the list to determine their availability to serve on a particular electoral board. The Presiding Judge shall transmit the name of the first person contacted who is available to serve on the particular board to the Chief Judge.

E. The Chief Judge shall notify the person requesting the election of a public member and send a copy of the written order of appointment to that person. The order shall be entered on the records of the court and published.

F. The governmental body for which the electoral board serves (i.e., the Board of Education, city, village, township) shall pay an hourly fee of TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS ($200.00) for each hour the public member attends any electoral board meeting(s) and/or expends time preparing written decisions or dissents. Actual mileage expenses shall be reimbursed to the public member for travel to and from said meeting(s) at the rate currently set by the State Travel Control Board. As of November 18, 2004, the rate is $0.375/mile. The public member shall submit an invoice to the governmental body and the governmental body shall pay the invoice within thirty (30) days from the date of its receipt.

G. The meeting shall be held at a public building within the political subdivision and the Chief Judge shall designate the public building as a courthouse. With proper notification to and agreement of the parties and additional posted notice to the general public, the meeting may be adjourned to another convenient location, without further order of court.

H. In the absence of proposed local rules for the conduct of electoral board proceedings, the public members shall present a proposed set of rules for the electoral board and a final set of rules shall be adopted at the first meeting.

I. All persons appointed as public members shall sign an oath acknowledging that they have no interest in the proceedings in which they are appointed to serve. Public members shall be governed by Supreme Court Rule 63 C(1) of the Code of Judicial Conduct to the extent applicable.

[Amended, effective February 1, 2005.]

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