CALUMET CITY | An attorney for the mayoral campaign of Brian Wilson filed an appeal Friday to a ruling this week that removed Wilson from the ballot for the April 9 municipal elections.
Attorney John Jawor filed at the Illinois Appellate Court in Chicago, asking not only that the ruling of Cook County Judge Maureen Ward Kirby be overturned but also for a stay of her order to be issued immediately.
A stay, if granted, would prevent her order from being enforced until an appellate court panel is able to rule on the merits of the case.
Wilson said Friday he was not overly concerned by the Cook County court’s actions this week because he said he has been notified by the county clerk’s office that ballots with his name on them already have been prepared in anticipation of the opening of early voting centers on Monday.
“I’m happy that the people who want to be able to vote for me for mayor will have the opportunity,” Wilson said.
If the appellate court ultimately upholds Kirby’s decision, any votes cast for Wilson would not be counted, even if his name remains on the ballot.
Kirby’s ruling this week accepted claims by backers of Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush that Wilson is ineligible to run as an independent candidate for mayor in the general election after he initially had submitted a statement of candidacy to run in the Democratic primary in February.
Kirby cited changes in the state election code enacted last year that, she said, prevent Wilson from running in April, even though he voluntarily withdrew his candidacy from the Democratic primary.
"My reading (of the law) is that it is OK to run in different (election) cycles. But this is the same cycle," she said. "So (Wilson) can't switch."
Jawor tried arguing that the law applied only to the elections held in even-numbered years for federal, state and county government positions and not in the odd-numbered years for municipal posts, which in many communities are nonpartisan with no primaries.
Kirby also accepted the legal argument that there were sufficient flaws in Wilson's nominating petitions. He gathered more than 4,000 signatures, and the Electoral Board considered 410 of them, determining that, at most, Wilson had 242 valid signatures, which is less than the 257 signatures required by law to run for mayor in this year's election.
Qualkinbush supporters had argued that many of the people who had circulated Wilson's nominating petitions were ineligible to do so because they had circulated petitions for other candidates in this year's election cycle.
Another part of Kirby’s ruling this week rejected claims by city officials that Wilson was ineligible to challenge Qualkinbush in this year’s election because he had debts to city government.