DuPage forest preserve board candidate fighting removal from the ballot

Updated 1/7/2020 1:52 PM

A candidate for DuPage County Forest Preserve commissioner who was kicked off the March primary ballot because of the hyphen in her name is taking legal action to reverse the decision.

Attorneys for Natalie Rose Shannon-DiCianni say the county electoral board's decision to remove the Elmhurst Democrat from the ballot was "an abuse of discretion," "contrary to law," "arbitrary, capricious, and a denial of the candidate's rights" under the U.S. and Illinois constitutions.


They have filed a petition for judicial review in circuit court and hope to convince a DuPage judge to order that DiCianni's name be printed on the March 17 ballot.

DiCianni last month entered the race to seek the Democratic nomination for the District 2 seat on the forest preserve board. But her nominating petitions were challenged by Jacalynn West of Lisle.

After reviewing the objection, the electoral board voted on Dec. 23 to remove DiCianni from the ballot because of the hyphen she used in her name in her nominating papers.

"Shannon" is DiCianni's nickname and the electoral board ruled candidates can't use hyphens to connect their nicknames and last names.

by signing up you agree to our terms of service

County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek, who serves as chairwoman of the three-person electoral board, said at the time that the surname is the most significant part of the candidate's name and must be correct.

"Shannon hyphen DiCianni is a false surname," Kaczmarek concluded.

But in their filing, DiCianni's attorneys say the electoral board erred in its finding that the candidate used a "false" name by using a hyphen separating her nickname from her surname.

"Respectfully, the electoral board's application of the law, as memorialized in the decision, is clearly erroneous, arbitrary and capricious," the attorneys wrote. "Neither the electoral board, nor the objector, cited any case, let alone one that would justify the candidate's removal from the ballot."

They said there is no authority in the state that justifies DiCianni's removal from the ballot.

"The objector's claim that the candidate improperly used a 'false' name is strictly manufactured, has no basis in the law, and is contrary to all of the sworn evidence in the record," the attorneys wrote.


The next court date for the case is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 13.

Natalie DiCianni is the daughter of county board member Pete DiCianni, an Elmhurst Republican.

If the electoral board's decision stands, Tina Tyson-Dunne of Lombard will run unopposed in the Democratic primary and face Karen Kelly, a Republican from Downers Grove. The District 2 seat currently is held by Republican Jeff Redick, who isn't running.

District 2 includes all or portions of Addison, Clarendon Hills, Downers Grove, Elmhurst, Hinsdale, Lisle, Lombard, Naperville, Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park, Westmont and Woodridge.

Article Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.