Metro-East News

Edwardsville mayor taking his case directly to the Illinois Supreme Court

Hal Patton
Hal Patton

Hal Patton is asking the Illinois Supreme Court to hear his case on whether he can stay on the ballot.

The Edwardsville mayor, who is running for the state Senate in the 56th district, was removed from the ballot after a decision by a Cook County judge.

Even though he is a Republican, he signed the re-election petitions of State Rep. Katie Stuart, an Edwardsville Democrat. State law prohibits a person from running for the nomination of one party after signing the election petition of a candidate from another party.

Patton is appealing directly to the state Supreme Court because whoever loses an appellate court hearing would most certainly appeal anyways, Patton’s attorney said in the filing.

“The nonsense continues,” Patton said. “This poorly written state law is being used to try to keep me off the ballot. Appellate courts have attempted to clarify (the law), but even those rulings are not capturing the intent of the law.”

Patton says he gathered more than 1,600 signatures for his own petition drive, which is more than the minimum that was required.

He voted in Republican primaries in 2000, 2002, 2006, 2008, 2012, 2014 and 2016.

“The law is supposed to prevent a candidate from raiding the ballot or jumping on the ballot of the opposite party,” said Patton, who is also a dentist.

“Clearly that was never my intention by signing the petition form of a patient of mine, who’s been a patient for 23 years,” he added referring to Stuart.

A State Board of Elections hearing officer recommended Patton be removed from the ballot, but not enough board members voted to do so. The case ended up in a front of a Cook County Circuit Court judge who decided to remove Patton.

“Now we wait to see if the direct appeal is granted,” said Matt Dietrich, the public information officer for the State Board of Elections.

Patton wants to succeed state Sen. Bill Haine, D-Alton, who is not running for re-election. He and Democrat Rachelle Aud Crowe, an assistant state’s attorney in Madison County, were the only people to file to run for the seat.

Madison County Clerk Madison Debbie Ming Mendoza said she has decided to keep Patton’s name on the March 20 primary ballot for now, until there is a final decision. St. Clair County has opted to keep his name off the ballot until a decision is made, according to the clerk’s office.

The objection was initially filed by Charles Yancey, of Bethalto. He declined to comment for this story.

Patton went straight to the state Supreme Court because military ballots already have been sent out and early voting is scheduled to start Thursday, but some county’s have delayed it until ballot issues are settled.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter