The Illinois State Board of Elections on Tuesday decided to allow former President Donald Trump to remain on the state’s Republican primary ballot.
“Thank you to the Illinois State Board of Elections for ruling 8-0 in protecting the Citizens of our Country from the Radical Left Lunatics who are trying to destroy it,” Trump wrote in a Truth Social post.
“The VOTE was 8-0 in favor of keeping your favorite President (ME!), on the Ballot. I love Illinois. Make America Great Again!” the GOP front-runner in this year’s presidential race concluded.
The board rejected an attempt by the group Free Speech for the People to have Trump thrown off the ballot on the grounds that he was involved in an “insurrection” against the government on Jan. 6, 2021, and therefore was ineligible based on Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, according to ABC News.
The board’s unanimous vote was based on a question of its authority to decide on the case.
After a two-hour hearing on the case that was held Friday, hearing officer Clark Erickson recommended that the board find that Trump was part of an insurrection but should still stay on the ballot.
“The Election Code is simply not suited for issues involving constitutional analysis. Those issues belong in the Courts,” Erickson wrote.
“All in all, attempting to resolve a constitutional issue within the expedited schedule of an election board hearing is somewhat akin to scheduling a two-minute round between heavyweight boxers in a telephone booth,” he said.
Adam Merrill, an attorney for the former president, pushed back against Erickson’s finding on Tuesday.
“Trump did not engage in insurrection, as that term is used in the Constitution,” he said.
“It is a complicated legal term that has been rarely interpreted, and it wasn’t even articulated correctly by the hearing officer in this case and, frankly, never should have reached it because of the lack of evidence, and because of the lack of jurisdiction,” Merrill said.
The Illinois action was one of many attempts to use the 14th Amendment to bar Trump from the state ballots.
On Feb. 8, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on a ruling from Colorado that kicked him off the ballot.
Tuesday also saw advocates for keeping Trump off the ballot pressing their case in Massachusetts, according to Boston.com.
On Monday, Associate Justice Frank M. Gaziano of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court rejected an emergency appeal that sought to keep the former president off the March 5 primary ballot and the general election ballot.
“If there is any question whether the commission has the authority or jurisdiction to consider the petitioners’ objections regarding Trump’s eligibility to appear on the general election ballot, that question will not become ripe until, and if, he is selected as his party’s nominee for President,” Gaziano ruled.
Trump “is not appearing on the primary ballot as a ‘nominee,’” the judge wrote. “Trump is a candidate for nomination; he is not a nominee.”
The anti-Trump group is appealing that ruling to the state’s full Supreme Court. The former president’s foes say the ruling should have focused on the core issue of “insurrection” and not what Gaziano considered.