Illinois Elections Board Defers Decision On Trump's Eligibility, Former President Remains On The Ballot

Written By BlabberBuzz | Wednesday, 31 January 2024 09:20 AM
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In a recent development, the Illinois State Board of Elections unanimously overruled an objection to former President Donald Trump's eligibility to be included in the state's primary ballot.

The board, which is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, made this decision following a suggestion that Trump should be disqualified for inciting an insurrection. The board, in an 8-0 vote, stated that it lacked the jurisdiction to determine Trump's constitutional eligibility to appear on the ballot, leaving such decisions to the courts.

The U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments in a similar case from Colorado early next month. The highest court in Colorado ruled that the 14th Amendment prevented the former Republican President from being included in the ballot due to his involvement in the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6, 2021. This incident saw his supporters storm the building following his loss in the 2020 election to Democrat Joe Biden.

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A hearing officer for the Illinois board, after brief arguments last week, suggested that the decision on Trump's eligibility should be left to the courts due to the complex constitutional issues involved. However, the opinion from Clark Erickson, a retired judge and a Republican, concluded that a "preponderance of the evidence" demonstrated that Trump participated in an insurrection and should therefore be excluded from the ballot.

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Five Illinois voters filed a petition arguing that Trump is ineligible to be on the ballot under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. This Civil War-era provision prohibits anyone who took an oath to support the Constitution and then "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" from holding office.

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Trump's campaign has consistently labeled efforts to prevent him from appearing on the ballot as attempts to disenfranchise American voters.

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In a related development, Maine's Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, a Democrat, appealed a judge's ruling on Friday that temporarily halted her decision to remove Trump from the ballot until the Supreme Court rules on the Colorado case. Bellows stated that she also wants to ensure Maine’s highest court has the opportunity to weigh in before ballots are counted in the March 5 primaries.

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The timelines are tight as Super Tuesday approaches. The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in the Colorado case on February 8, which likely means there would not be enough time to meet statutory deadlines for Bellows to reissue a ruling on Trump's ballot status and for additional appeals to be filed before Election Day.

Lawsuits in Minnesota, Michigan, Arizona, and Oregon seeking to prevent Trump from appearing on the 2024 ballot have already been dismissed on procedural grounds, according to Newsweek.

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