Illinois Supreme Court Restores Republican to Illinois Primary Ballot

On January 28, the Illinois Supreme Court issued an order putting a Republican candidate for the Illinois legislature back on the ballot. Cynthia Hebda is a Republican running for State House, 59th district, which includes part of Lake County and part of Cook County. Before she decided to run, she had signed the petition to place incumbent Carole Sente on the Democratic primary ballot. The fact that she signed a petition for someone in the Democratic primary was used in the lower courts to remove her from the Republican ballot.

Hebda said she signed for Sente because they are friends. A Cook County Circuit Court had then removed Hebda from the Republican ballot on January 7, and the State Court of Appeals then agreed with the lower court. But, the State Supreme Court has reversed the two lower courts.

The ballots had already been printed with Hebda’s name on the ballot, but notices at early voting polling places had said that Hebda is not eligible to be a candidate and that votes cast for her would not be counted. See this story. Thanks to Bill Van Allen for the link.

Illinois voter registration forms do not ask voters to choose a party. However, Illinois recognizes that voters are party members, depending on which party’s primary ballot they choose. A record is kept of which party’s primary ballot a voter chooses, and someone who chooses a Republican primary ballot is treated as a member of the Republican Party. Similarly, if a voter signs a petition to place a candidate on a party primary ballot, that voter is also treated as though he or she is a member of that party. So, when Hebda signed a primary petition for a Democrat, the law deemed her to be a Democrat, and thus ineligible to run in a Republican primary. Illinois and Ohio are the two states which don’t have registration by party on the voter registration, and yet which try to classify voters as party members depending on what actions they take. They results of the Illinois/Ohio system create many ambiguous legal problems. It will be fortunate if the Illinois Supreme Court, having issued injunctive relief to Hebda, will also write a decision clarifying Illinois law.


  1. Demo Rep · · Reply

    P.R. and A.V. — NO party hack primaries and the related EVIL machinations are needed.

    Each election is NEW and has ZERO to do with any prior election.

    NO more *friends* in party hack Illinois ???

    The IL regime should have been split decades ago — leftwing north versus rightwing south — many more States should be created — BUT the party hacks in the EVIL small States do NOT permit more splits.

  2. Phil Huckelberry · · Reply

    The article doesn’t explain the basis for the injunctive relief. I’m surprised they would make a decision like this given the apparent facts of the case.

    This could be a very important case, since it’s at the state Supreme Court level, and might therefore trump the Cullerton case out of the appellate court.

  3. Jim Riley · · Reply

    Texas classifies signing a primary petition as an affiliating act, and requires petitions to carry the following warning: “I understand that by signing this petition I become ineligible to vote in a primary election or participate in a convention of another party, including a party not holding a primary election, during the voting year in which this primary election is held.”

    Illinois is different than Texas, in that the parties rather than the state conducts their primaries, and various filings with the county clerks and secretary of state are more in a custodial role. So the Democrats would probably never see a Republican petition, and they probably wouldn’t even have legal standing to challenge conduct of other party’s activities at least until after the primary.

    It would also be simpler in Texas to pay the filing fee than collect the signatures.

    In the case in Illinois, it is the Democrats who are trying to keep the Republican off the Republican primary ballot. And the curiosity is that Hebda not only signed a Democrat’s petition, but the petition of her potential opponent in the general election.

  4. Phil Huckelberry · · Reply

    The parties do not conduct their own primaries in Illinois. What you’re writing is completely silly.

    Seriously, every time I see you post something, you’re providing incorrect information.

  5. Jim Riley · · Reply

    #4 In Texas, the parties conduct the primaries. In Illinois the state conducts the primaries. I did write that in a confusing manner – thank you for pointing it out.

    In Texas, primary candidates file with party county chair or state chair. If a candidate did file a petition, it is likely that the opposite party would never see the petition. But since Texas also permits candidates to pay a fee rather than use a petition, there would likely not have been a petition either.

    In Illinois, primary candidates file with the state, and challenges to petitions can be by anyone. In the particular case in Illinois, it is the Democrats who are trying to keep someone from running in a Republican primary.

    Neither Illinois or Texas have party registration. But both states restrict participation in the nominating activities of political parties. In both states, the act of signing a petition to get a candidate on the primary ballot is an affiliating act.

  6. How many zillions of party hack laws and court cases regarding the party hack stuff in all 50 States — primaries, caucuses, conventions, etc. ???

    Can even New Age super-computers keep up to date ???

  7. Demo Rep · · Reply

    In more rational regimes there is the basic principle of *substantial compliance* with the law – especially on MORON government forms with NOT enough space to put in necessary info.

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