Illinois election board votes to keep Donald Trump on ballot after eligibility challenge

  • by:
  • Source: NBC News
  • 01/30/2024
The Illinois State Board of Elections unanimously voted Tuesday to keep former President Donald Trump on the ballot ahead of the state's March 19 primary election, rejecting a challenge that he should be disqualified because of Jan. 6.

The board, which is made up of four Democrats and four Republicans, heard the case regarding a petition brought by five voters earlier this month that argued that Trump is ineligible to appear on the state's ballot. The petitioners said that Trump should be barred from Illinois' primary ballot for the March 19 election because they say he violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment by engaging in insurrection in his effort to overturn the 2020 election.

The board was presented with a variety of perspectives on how it should act.

After brief arguments last week, a hearing officer for the Illinois board said it should be up to the courts, rather than election officials, to decide Trump’s eligibility because of the complicated constitutional issues involved. But the opinion from Clark Erickson, a retired judge and a Republican, concluded that a “preponderance of the evidence” presented proved that Trump engaged in insurrection and should be barred from the ballot.

The board's general counsel, meanwhile, argued that the Board of Elections does have the jurisdiction to decide the case, and should rule that Trump should stay on the ballot.

Before the board voted Tuesday, a lawyer for the objectors behind the petition, Matthew J. Piers, said that there is "no question under the law" that "this board not only has the authority to determine an objection, based on the U.S. Constitution, but indeed you have the clear, mandatory duty to do so."

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