Judge Blocks Illinois Election Law That Repealed Slating, Deems It Unconstitutional

An Illinois judge has halted the enforcement of a controversial new election law recently signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker. The law prohibited political parties from appointing candidates to fill general election ballots in races where they had not run a primary candidate, a process known as slating.

On June 5, Judge Gail Noll of the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court in Sangamon County, Illinois, issued a permanent injunction, preventing the enforcement of the slating repeal for the current election cycle. This decision came in response to a lawsuit filed by plaintiffs challenging the repeal.

The judge ruled that the repeal was unconstitutional for several prospective candidates in the upcoming November general election, stating that it “impermissibly burdens their right to vote and to have their names placed on the November ballot.”

Last month, Democrats in the Illinois House introduced a last-minute amendment to Senate Bill 2412, known as P.A. 103-0586, which changed state election laws. This amendment banned the slating appointment process, which was previously allowed within 75 days of the primary.

The move faced strong criticism from Republicans, the minority party in the Illinois Legislature. They protested by voting “present” and walking off the House floor without debating the measure. Despite this, the bill quickly passed both chambers and was signed into law by Governor Pritzker on May 3.

The new law required candidates to participate in the March primary to qualify for the November general election ballot.

Democrats presented the bill as an ethics measure aimed at preventing backroom deals in candidate selection. In contrast, Republicans argued that it unfairly altered the rules mid-election and amounted to election interference.

Republicans also opposed the law, arguing that it effectively handed Democrats a victory in races where GOP candidates had not been slated in the primary.

According to the Illinois Policy Institute, a nonpartisan research organization, the measure impacted races in 78 districts that would have otherwise been uncontested in the November general election.

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By Hunter Fielding
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