CHICAGO | An attorney representing Calumet City Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush's supporters asked the Illinois Appellate Court to overturn rulings that restored several of the mayor's opponents to the Feb. 26 primary election ballot.
James Nally filed appeals against a slate of candidates aligned with mayoral hopeful Brian Wilson, and also against mayoral hopeful Victor Green and two aldermanic candidates aligned with him: 4th Ward hopeful Imani Akin and 6th Ward hopeful Hope Allen.
All of those candidates were removed from the Democratic primary ballot by the Calumet City Electoral Board only to be restored earlier this month by Cook County Judges Edmund Ponce de Leon and Alfred Paul.
Nally said Friday he will argue before the Illinois Appellate Court that the Circuit Court judges were wrong. Nally said none of the candidates should be on the ballot because their nominating petitions were not properly notarized and some of the candidates also had economic interest statements that were not properly filed.
“It’s the same case I argued before the Electoral Board,” said Nally, who also asked the appellate court to work on an “expedited schedule” to reach a decision quickly because the primary election is only 11 days away.
John Jawor, an attorney for Wilson and his slate of candidates for other municipal offices, was particularly upset that Nally would make such a request.
“He has had weeks to file his appeal, yet he waits until now and claims that matters have to be expedited,” said Jawor, adding he is confident the appellate court will uphold the circuit court rulings.
As of Friday, no hearings had been scheduled in the appeals. But Nally, Jawor and Adam Lasker, Green’s attorney, said they expect a schedule in which Nally files a written legal brief detailing his case by Tuesday, and Lasker and Jawor respond in writing by Friday.
Whether there will be any oral argument is uncertain because Nally and Jawor said they expect the appellate court will use the written briefs to reach its decision.
Nally said he is confident the appellate court can reach a ruling prior to the Feb. 26 Democratic primary. “The court understands that there is a tight time schedule that must be met,” he said.
Allen said she and Green are "disgusted, but not surprised" that Qualkinbush interests would persist with a legal appeal.
“She knows she could lose” if there is opposition on the ballot, Allen said.
Qualkinbush was not available Friday to respond. But Wilson said he is bothered by the fact that the cases are being appealed, even though early voting began Monday and the Cook County clerk’s office said 422 people already have cast ballots as of midday Friday.
If the candidates ultimately are removed from the ballot, any votes cast for them will be invalid.
"It’s wrong that the mayor thinks she can erase votes that already have been cast," Wilson said.