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WNIJ's summary of news items around our state.

Illinois Judges Seek Unconventional Means To Run For Re-Election

"Courtroom One Gavel" by Flickr User Beth Cortez-Neavel / (CC BY 2.0)

A court will likely decide if three St. Clair County judges can run for re-election rather than retention.

The Illinois State Board of Elections deadlocked 4-to-4 yesterday on whether the state constitution allows sitting judges to run for election -- instead of asking voters if they can retain their current seats.

The circuit court judges, all Democrats, resigned their judgeships and then filed to run as judicial candidates. 

It takes more votes to retain judges than to elect them. Theoretically, this approach will make it easier for the trio of judges to remain on the bench. 

Aaron Weishaar, the attorney for the Belleville man who's objecting, says the judges are playing games with the constitution.

But the judges' attorney, Michael Kasper, says the only important question is are the judges eligible to run for office.

"The question isn't really whether you think it's a good idea or a bad idea or whether or not judges ought to be able to do this. The question is whether the statements of candidacy comply with the constitution. The constitution puts forth three eligibility requirements. There's no dispute these candidates satisfy all three of them,” Kasper said.

The elections board voted unanimously to ask the Illinois Attorney General for a legal opinion on the issue. 

Kasper is a lobbyist and an attorney for the Democratic Party of Illinois. 

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