On Tuesday morning, a special hearing was held by the Illinois State Board of Elections to consider whether Donald Trump should be allowed on the ballot as a presidential candidate under the 14th Amendment’s prohibitions against insurrectionists.
Ultimately, they left him on, but with one huge caveat — the decision will be appealed.
Trump is praising the decision to keep “your favorite president,” as he titles himself, on the ballot. Still, he may or may not understand that this decision was just the first step in a multi-part process, with the most important decision still a week away, when the Supreme Court hears Colorado’s case for a ballot challenge.
He also may have missed two Republicans — a judge and a Board of Elections member — affirming that he did indeed take part in an insurrection and should not be on the ballot.
The question of Trump’s ballot access, state by state, is actually at least two questions: is he eligible to be a candidate, and if not, who has the authority to remove him from the ballot?
When he celebrates certain states that have not removed him, Trump either ignores or doesn’t understand that this is because of the conclusion they reach on the second question, not the first.
In fact, one board member said during the Illinois meeting:
“I want it to be clear that this Republican believes that there was an insurrection on January 6th. There’s no doubt in my mind that he manipulated, instigated, and aided and abetted an insurrection on January 6th. However, having said that, it is not my place to rule on that today.”
In this, she echoed what Judge Clark Erickson said in his recommendation to the board yesterday: that Trump is ineligible for the ballot, but that a court, rather than a BOE, needs to remove him.
A further issue was raised: while Trump may be ineligible, he did not lie on his election forms if he genuinely believes he did not commit an insurrection, and he is therefore eligible.
Free Speech For People, an organization facilitating challenges in several states, takes issue with this, arguing that knowing a statement of eligibility is false is not a prerequisite for that ineligibility.
At this point, Trump isn’t off the ballot in any state.
Colorado removed him, but SCOTUS agreed to hear the case, and a stay of the decision meant that he had to be left on the primary ballots.
In Maine, the Secretary of State agreed he should be removed, but it won’t happen unless and until there’s a court ruling. With one more dubious win under his belt, Trump crowed on TruthSocial:
“Thank you to the Illinois State Board of Elections for ruling 8-0 in protecting the Citizens of our Country from the Radical Left Lunatics who are trying to destroy it. The VOTE was 8-0 in favor of keeping your favorite President (ME!), on the Ballot. I love Illinois.”
Now an appeal will take the issue where Judge Erickson says it needs to go: into the courts. In an email Tuesday, Free Speech For People said:
“On appeal, we expect that the lllinois courts will uphold Judge Erickson’s thoughtful analysis of why Trump is disqualified from office, but–with the greatest respect–correct him and the Board on why Illinois law authorizes that ruling despite Trump’s subjective belief that the Constitution doesn’t apply to him,” said Ron Fein, Legal Director of Free Speech For People
The Supreme Court hears the Colorado case next week, after which Trump’s eligibility could be affirmed for ballots in every state, or, if the Justices rule against him, there could be a rush of removals across the country.
Either way, he’s racking up an incredible number of legal opinions that he committed insurrection against the U.S., which doesn’t bode well for his criminal cases.
Steph Bazzle is a news writer who covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph. Sign up for all of her stories to be delivered to your inbox here: