Political Speech

Illinois Voters File Legal Challenge To Keep Trump Off Ballot After Election Board Defeat

ormer U.S. President Trump holds rally in Florence, South Carolina
In this March 12, 2022, file photo, former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at Florence Regional Airport in Florence, South Carolina. (Reuters/Randall Hill)

By The Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) — A group of voters trying to remove former President Donald Trump’s name from Illinois’ primary ballot over the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol has taken its fight to court after the state’s election board unanimously rejected its effort.

The expected legal challenge was filed in Cook Court’s circuit court Tuesday, hours after the bipartisan Illinois State Board of Elections voted to keep the Republican on the March 19 ballot. The five voters argue Trump is ineligible to hold office because he encouraged and did little to stop the Capitol riot.

Dozens of similar cases have been filed in other states seeking to keep Trump from the presidency under a provision of the 14th Amendment that bars some people who “engaged in insurrection” from holding public office. The Colorado case is the only one that succeeded in court. Most other courts and election officials have ducked the issue on similar grounds to Illinois, concluding they don’t have jurisdiction to rule on the obscure constitutional issue.

The issue will likely be decided at a higher court, with the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled next week to hear arguments in Trump’s appeal of the Colorado ruling declaring him ineligible for the presidency in that state.

The Illinois voters, along with national voting advocacy group Free Speech for People, argued in their court petition for judicial review that the elections board has the authority to determine Trump’s eligibility. Trump attorney Adam Merrill told reporters Tuesday he was pleased with the election board’s decision and prepared to respond to any court action.