Illinois voters turn to court after board rejects effort to remove Trump from ballot

A group of Illinois voters filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging former President Trump’s presidential ballot eligibility after the state’s elections board voted just hours prior to keep him on the ballot.

The four voters, backed by nonprofit Free Speech for People, claim Trump should not be on the ballot because his actions surrounding the Jan. 6 Capitol riots violate the 14th Amendment “insurrection clause” and he should therefore be disqualified.

Two states, Colorado and Maine, have pursued that 14th Amendment argument against Trump, and similar cases have been thrown out or delayed in dozens of states. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on his eligibility next month, though it is unknown if the court will rule on the merits of the case.

The Colorado case is the only 14th Amendment challenge to succeed in court. Trump’s name will still appear on the states’ ballots pending the Supreme Court’s decision.

The Illinois State Board of Elections said Tuesday that Trump should stay on the ballot in a unanimous vote. One of the board members did preface before her vote that she did believe the former president engaged in an insurrection.

“I want it to be clear that this Republican believes that there was an insurrection on Jan. 6. There’s no doubt in my mind that he manipulated, instigated, aided and abetted an insurrection on Jan. 6,” board member Catherine McCrory said. “However, having said that, it is not my place to rule on that today.”

The Illinois challengers also asked the state court to expedite its decision on the challenge, citing “significant public interest” in the case and rapidly approaching electoral deadlines. The state must have ballots for the presidential primary finalized by Friday, the challengers said.

The objectors requested a court hearing on the merits on Feb. 5.

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