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July 7, 2014


Jennie Vana

Lake County Communications Manager



State Drops Appeal in Elections Commission Case
The Illinois Attorney General's Office has dropped its appeal of a circuit court ruling that found the state law mandating the creation of an elections commission in Lake County to be unconstitutional special legislation.

Last July, Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor and Lake County filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Public Act 98-115 which targeted only Lake County and eliminated voters' rights to choose who administers elections.

In November of last year, Circuit Court Judge David Akemann ruled that the provision applying only to Lake County was unconstitutional. The decision overturned the state law allowing the Lake County Clerk to continue to administer local elections.

The Illinois Attorney General's Office subsequently appealed the circuit court's ruling. As a matter of law, circuit court decisions which invalidate state law are directly appealable to the Illinois Supreme Court. The Illinois Attorney General's Office had sought and obtained multiple extensions of time to file their opening brief in the appeal, before recently abandoning the appeal.

Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor said, "This is a great day for Lake County taxpayers and voters. Now, instead of creating a new, costly layer of government, we can all get back to our main focus - making county government more efficient and responsive to voters and taxpayers."

Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim was pleased but not surprised by the decision to drop the appeal. "We felt very confident that Public Act 98-115 represented unconstitutional special legislation that, for no legitimate reason, sought to impose discriminatory elections administration rules in Lake County."

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