Hearing officer recommends Trump’s removal from Illinois’ primary ballot

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(The Center Square) – The Illinois State Board of Elections will consider taking former President Donald Trump’s name off the March 19 primary ballot. They’ll also consider separate objections to incumbent President Joe Biden’s candidacy, but a hearing officer recommends those objections be denied.

Hearings from an array of challenges against Trump and Biden were in front of elections board staff Friday.

Attorney Matthew Piers represented those who want Trump off the ballot and said his attempt to overthrow the last election is grounds enough.

“The candidate repeatedly exhorted his followers on Twitter and elsewhere that he in fact won the election and they should take action to quote, stop the fraud and stop the count of the votes,” said Piers.

In the more than 700-page agenda for Tuesday’s meeting of the Illinois State Board of Elections, a hearing officer recommends Trump’s name be removed.

“[T]he Hearing Officer recommends that the Board find that the evidence presented at the hearing on January 26, 2024 proves by a preponderance of the evidence that President Trump engaged in insurrection, within the meaning of Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, and should have his name removed from the March, 2023 primary ballot in Illinois.”

Earlier this month, Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich said any recommendations eventually are voted on by the bipartisan elections board.

“So you cannot have … one party unilaterally making any decisions,” Dietrich said. “It takes at least five votes to make a board order effective.”

He also said it’s likely Trump’s name will be certified on the ballot but with a note that an objection is pending. Whatever the outcome of the board’s vote Tuesday, it’s expected the case could be taken to the Illinois courts.

“And that can wind its way all the way up to the Illinois Supreme Court if necessary,” Dietrich told The Center Square. “So it’s possible that’s what could happen with this case.”

Terry Newsome of Darian is one of several people opposed to Biden being on the ballot, primarily because of his open border policy.

“We’re letting all these different terrorists, known terrorists, to enter our country right now that’s infiltrating the United States of America,” Newsome said Friday.

To Newsome’s and others’ motions to block Biden, the hearing officer recommended objections be dismissed and Biden’s name be placed on the ballot.

The state elections board meets jointly in Chicago and Springfield at 9:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The primary in Illinois is March 19. The General Election is Nov. 5.

Kevin Bessler contributed to this report.

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