SPRINGFIELD | State election regulators could decide next week whether Gov. Pat Quinn has an opponent on the March 18 primary election ballot.
On Thursday, the Illinois State Board of Elections delayed making a decision on a challenge to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tio Hardiman's nominating petitions, saying attorneys for the board wanted more time to review the case.
At issue is whether the political newcomer's running mate, lieutenant governor candidate Brunell Donald, of Chicago, submitted petitions containing her correct address.
After a year in which prominent Democrats like Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and former White House chief of staff William Daley opted not to challenge Quinn, the little-known Hardiman — the former director of an anti-violence organization from Hillside — collected just enough signatures to get on the ballot.
Donald acknowledged Thursday she recently moved but failed to change her voter registration.
“I was registered to vote at my old address, not my new one,” Donald told the Lee Enterprises Springfield Bureau on Thursday.
For state election regulators, the case is potentially precedent setting because of a change in state law that now requires governors to pick their lieutenant governor candidates before the primary election.
If Donald is ruled ineligible for the ballot, there is no case law providing a road map for determining whether Hardiman would remain eligible to stay on the ballot against Quinn.
Although the board was operating under a Thursday deadline to certify the primary election ballot for county clerks, staff asked for a delay on the Hardiman objection in order to ensure both sides and board attorneys had time to review the case.
Meantime, the board Thursday did take quick action to dismiss an attempt by Hardiman to toss Quinn off the ballot.
In a unanimous vote, the board said the governor clearly had enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions to get on the ballot.
Quinn's attorney, Burt Odelson, called the challenge by Hardiman “a very, very good example of a frivolous objection.”