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Illinois elections board hears objections to petitions filed by presidential candidates

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(The Center Square) – The debate over whether presidential candidates can be excluded from the state’s primary election ballots is playing out in Illinois.

The Illinois State Board of Elections conducted petition objection hearings Friday in Chicago and Springfield for President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump.

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.

Attorney Kevin Morphew represented Biden. He said disagreeing with a candidate’s policies is not grounds to remove them from the ballot.

“This is a policy argument couched as a qualifications challenge,” said Morphew. “This is not a valid objection. It is very, very troubling that the board entertains and allows arguments on these cases.”

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.

Attorney Scott Gessler was able to keep Trump on the Colorado ballot.

“If you look at the evidence that they rely upon, 100% of the evidence they rely upon is public speeches by President Trump … and so we actually do have a record to be able to look at in a meaningful way to determine whether or not if President Trump engaged in insurrection, and the answer is, no he didn’t,” said Gessler.

The hearing officer will now forward recommendations to the board’s general counsel. The board is expected to meet Tuesday to consider the objections.

The Illinois primary election is March 19.

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