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Lawsuit Seeks to Derail HJRCA 49

October 30th, 2012

In anticipation of the looming House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 49 (“HJRCA 49”) on the November 6th ballot, a lawsuit has been filed with the Sixth Judicial District Circuit Court in Champaign County attempting to render the ballot’s notice language unconstitutional and nullify the election results.

Titled Bambenek et al. v. The Illinois State Board of Elections, a group of Plaintiffs are suing as legal voters who have standing under the Election Code.  The Plaintiffs’ Complaint bypasses the Illinois State Board of Elections by bringing this before the Court, citing the State Board of Elections inability to rule on the constitutionality of a statute.

The suit seeks have the ballot deemed unconstitutional for several reasons. Plaintiffs claim the ballot is confusing and contains misleading language in the notice of the ballot. The suit further asserts the notice does not conform to Illinois statutory requirements.  Citing Illinois cases, Plaintiffs’ argue if a ballot “deviates in a matter of substance from the form prescribed by statute, the election is void.”

Plaintiff’s next argument claims that the Amendment is not fully explained.  They point out that the proposed Amendment clocks in at around 3,700 characters in five paragraphs, but is shortened to just one sentence on the ballot.  By comparison, the entire Bill of Rights is approximately 7,200 characters.  The one sentence description, as argued, is not enough to apprise a voter of what the Amendment actually does.

In addition from asking the Court to find the notice language unconstitutional, the Plaintiffs ask the Court to bar the State Board of Elections from certifying the vote count for the Constitutional Amendment, essentially nullifying the election results.

Reimer & Dobrovolny Labor Law PC is closely monitoring this case and will provide updates as the case develops.