Circuit Judge William Becker ruled one section of Illinois Election Law unconstitutional yesterday in Effingham regarding whether someone can run as in independent after pulling a Republican or Democrat ballot in a primary election.
In July, an Effingham County Electoral Board denied an appeal by Effingham County Resident and County Board Member Mike DePoister that would prevent him from being removed from the ballot for reelection in November. His name was removed after a complaint was filed by Beecher City Resident Steven R. Donaldson that claimed, as per Illinois election code, that because DePoister voted as a Republican in the March Primary, he could not run as an independent in the November election.
DePoister and Attorney Chris Koester appealed the decision unsuccessfully to the local electoral board, but brought the case to the Effingham County Circuit Court who found section 7-43, of the Illinois Election Code, unconstitutional allowing DePoister to get back on the November Ballot.
“We advised the court that we thought that the only interest of the legislators [with the election code] would be to basically protect the established parties, Republican and Democrat,” Koester said on Wednesday, “to kind of tamp down other independent candidates or other ideas and really coalesce the power into fewer people’s hands.”
Koester expects Judge Becker to sign an order soon that will mandate that DePoister’s name be put back on the ballot for the November Election. According to him, the ruling in DePoister’s case could impact election law throughout the state.