Poor Linda Arnold. First the Fairview Heights alderwoman got thrown off the ballot over a minor mistake that the city electoral board allowed candidates to make in the previous election. Then when she sought judicial relief, a St. Clair County judge wouldn’t even hear her case because of an obscure technicality that may or may not exist.
Associate Judge Heinz Rudolf said Arnold failed to serve Harry Zimmerman, the political opponent who objected to her petitions, proper notice of the judicial review. “I would like to get to the motion and love to give you your day in court,” Rudolf said. “But I think the court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case.”
We think Rudolf got this ruling wrong. Candidates seek judicial review all the time in St. Clair County, but we can’t remember a judge ever saying he lacked jurisdiction to hear a case because the objector didn’t get proper notification. If this is the law, it’s so obscure that the state Board of Elections didn’t include it in its 56-page candidate guide for 2014. The guide states that a candidate has to file a request for judicial review with the circuit clerk within five days of an electoral board ruling, but it makes no mention of any other notifications.
If this is the law, it needs to be changed. It’s bad enough that candidates get kicked off the ballot by politicians on electoral boards over hypertechnicalities. Technicalities should not be used to deny those candidates their day in court.