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Cunningham Ordered Off 11th District Ballot

The state appellate court handed down its decision on Wednesday, finally removing Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham from the ballot in the 11th Congressional District. His name will still appear, but votes for him will not count.

It’s official: Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham has once again been ordered off the ballot in the 11th Congressional District.

Cunningham was hoping to challenge Rep. Judy Biggert in the Republican primary election in the newly-drawn district. But the State Board of Elections on Monday found that two of his petition circulators were not present when signatures they collected were notarized, and declared all of those signatures invalid.

On Wednesday, a state appellate court upheld that ruling, and declared Cunningham ineligible for the March 20 election. This is the second time Cunningham has been removed from the ballot – in January, the State Board declared more than half of his signatures invalid due to a mistyped address on 31 petition sheets, but Cunningham challenged that ruling in court and won.

Biggert’s campaign appealed, and the court’s final decision leaves the 13th District congresswoman as the only valid candidate whose name will appear on the ballot. Republican Diane Harris of Joliet is running as a write-in candidate.

Cunningham said he may challenge the ruling, appealing to the Illinois Supreme Court, or he may decide to run as an independent candidate. He would have until June 25 to file for the November election as an independent.

Cunningham said Wednesday that although the court’s decision was based on the actions of two petition circulators and a notary, they were people he selected for his campaign, and he must take responsibility.

“I’m not happy with it, but it is what it is, and we can go from here,” he said.

Cunningham’s name will still appear on the ballots in the 11th District, since there isn’t time to remove it, but votes for him – both those cast on March 20 and those cast during early voting – will be suppressed. Officials at the State Board of Elections said it is up to each election authority in the district to decide how to inform voters of the situation.

Cunningham said he is still encouraging people to vote for him, and he still sees himself as an alternative to Biggert. He said he is “still optimistic.”

Biggert has pointed out the irony of a county clerk ordered off the ballot for failing to correctly file petitions. In an interview with Patch earlier this month, she said, “I think if you’re going to run, you need to follow the law in terms of filing petitions.”

Biggert will go on to face the winner of the Democratic primary – either former Congressman Bill Foster, attorney Juan Thomas, or Jim Hickey, president of the Orland Fire Protection District.

The election is next Tuesday, March 20. Early voting is underway, and ends on Thursday, March 15. The appellate court's ruling is attached to this story.

Tom Koz March 15, 2012 at 02:37 PM
Didn't Biggert promise to only stay in office for 3 terms???? Will this be her 6th or 7th??? Time to go Judy.
Michael "Mike" Keniley March 15, 2012 at 08:47 PM
I remember JUDY's broken promise...yes; it is time for JUDY to GO!! Polls open on Tuesday, March 20th at 6am until 7pm. If you need to find your polling location, check your new voter card or go to eVoter.com and simply type in your address. And when you vote...ask for a Democratic ballot!!
Conservative March 16, 2012 at 03:58 PM
Biggert is a Career Politician; to bad she couldn’t have a challenger that might have brought something new and fresh to the table. Whatever, she’ll lose in the general with the redistricted map. Sorry Jack, better luck next time.
Diane M Harris Write-in Candidate March 18, 2012 at 09:45 PM
As for asking for a Democratic ballot; hold your horses! As a Republican write-in candidate for the 11th Congressional District, I stand on some of the same Republican principles as Jack Cunningham but without the Notary issues. I am 100% pro-life, pro-business, supporter of 2nd amendment rights, oppose death tax and support balance budget amendment. In my opinion, like Rodney Dangerfield says, "Write-ins get no respect" Unfortunately, voters do not know, but there is more to being a write in than one can imagine and the media does not acknowledge them nor does anyone else. Therefore, write-ins have to go after the political seat with all hands on deck and I am taking this opportunity to do so. I am surprised that Jack Cunningham would ask that the voters cast their votes for him in this primary election knowing that he is not a candidate. The courts have ruled, and his votes will not be counted so why should voters waste their votes? There can be no points proven here. All it does is takes away from a candidate that could support the party's same views. Voters should make their votes count otherwise they are doing a disservice to the voting processes. In regards to Congresswoman Biggert; if term limits were set the problem would be settled, but, on the other hand, if a candidate agrees with their own free will to a set term, then it should be honored when the time comes. I represent a new voice for the people and ask voters to give write-in more consideration.
Brad Baber March 20, 2012 at 09:44 PM
I think it's thoroughly disgusting, the underhanded Obama tactics Judy is taken because she doesn't have the guts to face a challenger! Secondly, I don't think it's right that they can change the ballot once voting has started. In my opinon, all petition objections should cease as soon as the first vote is cast. Now people have early voted, and those who voted for Jack will be disenfranchised. Maybe they would have picked Harris had they known Jack was not going to be on the ballot, but now they just don't get a vote! That's not right. And yes, Judy is not trustworthy. She pledged to term limit herself and now had gone back on that. Shameful!

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