Metro-East News

Judge removes state Senate candidate from ballot; decision appealed

Hal Patton
Hal Patton

A Cook County judge on Tuesday ordered Edwardsville Mayor Hal Patton be left off of the ballot for state Senate, the State Board of Elections confirmed.

Patton, a Republican, is seeking the Republican nomination to run for the 56th state Senate seat, which is held by state Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton. Haine is not running for re-election. Madison County Assistant State’s Attorney Rachelle Aud Crowe is seeking the Democratic nomination to run for the seat.

Last year, Patton signed the election petitions of state Rep. Katie Stuart, a Democrat. A person cannot sign election petitions for multiple parties. In December, Charles Yancey, of Bethalto, filed an objection to Patton’s name appearing on the ballot.

The State Board of Elections hearing officer in the case recommended Patton be removed from the ballot. The board voted 4-3 to remove Patton from the ballot, but five votes were needed in order for the objection to be upheld.

On Tuesday, a judge in Cook County upheld Yancey’s objection, said State Board of Elections spokesman Matt Dietrich.

By as soon as the end of the week, Patton’s attorney, Burt Odelson, intends to file a notice of appeal with the First District Appellate Court in Chicago and also a motion to stay the circuit judge’s ruling throughout the appeals process, Dietrich said.

Rachelle Aud Crowe. File photo.

“If Patton’s stay is granted, his name would stay on the ballot until a higher court rules otherwise,” Dietrich said.

Dietrich said ballots for the March primary have yet to be printed.

“Military and overseas ballots go out Saturday, and we are advising the county clerks to wait on printing their ballots until as late as possible Friday in the event that the stay is granted and he is added back to the ballot,” Dietrich said.

He added, “The fact that he is unchallenged in the Republican primary makes this less complicated than it would be if there were multiple candidates. If his name is printed on ballots and then a court removes him the day before the election, his presence on the ballot would not skew a competitive race.”

In a letter Patton plans to send to supporters, he reiterates that he has voted in every Republican primary since 1998, except for 2010.

Patton concedes he did sign Stuart’s petition.

He said in the letter that efforts to remove him from the ballot are “Chicago politics being played out in Springfield.”

“This is why voters are sick and tired of the rigged political system in Illinois,” Patton wrote. “While (Speaker Mike) Madigan may be used to getting his way with others, his intimidation techniques won’t work on me or with my thousands of supporters here in Madison, St. Clair and Jersey counties.”

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter