Ann Maher Jan. 20, 2016, 2:31pm


CHICAGO - A tie vote following a hearing today at the Illinois State Board of Elections means no action will be taken by the board on a St. Clair County judicial ballot challenge.

Board members Andrew Carruthers, William Cadigan, Ernest Cadigan and Betty Coffrin voted to support objections to the candidacies of Twentieth Judicial Circuit judge John Baricevic, Robert LeChien and Robert Haida.

The judges submitted letters of resignation to the Illinois Supreme Court in August, indicating that they intended to seek election to their seats rather than to seek retention.

Dallas Cook, Belleville City Clerk, filed objections to the judges' nomination petitions in early December, seeking to have their names stricken from the March 15 Democratic ballot.

He argues that judges seeking to keep their seats are required by statute to run on their records on a non-partisan ballot in the general election, not for re-election to seats they are vacating by way of resignation.

State Board of Election board members Charles Scholz (chairman), John Keith and Casandra Watson voted in favor of the judges' petitions to dismiss the challenges raised by Cook. Watson carried a proxy vote for board member William McGuffage, who was not present.

The judges are represented by Chicago attorney Michael Kasper, who has argued that the state constitution does not expressly prohibit the judges from taking the course of action they have.

As a result of the board's 4-4 tie, no action will be taken to remove the judges' names from the ballot.

Aaron Weishaar of St. Louis represents Cook. After the hearing, he said that if judicial review is to be sought, action would be taken in either Sangamon County or Cook County. 

Board members also voted 6-2 to seek an opinion on the matter from State Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Watson voted against seeking Madigan's opinion, and by proxy she voted against for McGuffage.

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