(The Center Square) – A hastily changed law that eliminates slated candidates from gaining ballot access without running in a primary was deemed unconstitutional by a lower court, but now an expected Illinois Supreme Court decision could determine if candidates this election are on the Nov. 5 ballot.

Thirteen candidates are plaintiffs in the lawsuit Collazo et al v. Illinois State Board of Elections and Attorney General Kwame Raoul, which is currently on appeal before the Illinois Supreme Court. The hastily passed law enacted by Gov. J.B. Pritzker prohibits slated candidates for established political parties from getting their name on the ballot without first running in a primary. Leslie Collazo, the lead plaintiff challenging the law change, had her petitions challenged.

“I turned in over 80 petitions and over 1,200 signatures, and many of them were objected to and they tried to toss out the majority and we sat there line-by-line and we had a two-day process to go through every single signature, but by the end of the first day they threw in the towel and decided to not pursue an objection based on my signature because after the first day, it was clear I had enough. So on the basis of signatures, I have the green light, the only thing holding me back is this law,” said Collazo.

At the July 9 Illinois State Board of Elections meeting, the board sustained an objection against one of the 14 plaintiffs, Timothy Szymankowski, a slated candidate in the 98th House district, so he will not be on the November ballot. His objection did cite the new slating law but it also said he did not submit the required 500 signatures.

“The hearing officer’s report said he submitted only 331 signatures and both the hearing officer and our general counsel recommended the objection be sustained on that count alone. The board voted accordingly,” Matt Dietrich, Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman, told The Center Square.

Collazo explained that whoever seeks ballot access has to have thick skin.

“I can’t stress enough how disheartening it is to just want to do good for our cities, towns and country and the amount of opposition to just bring a fair fight to the ring,” said Collazo.

Collazo, if on the Nov. 5 ballot, will face incumbent state Rep. La Shawn Ford, D-Chicago. 

The Collazo case could be decided by the Illinois Supreme Court possibly as early as this week, according to Dietrich.

Collazo said she’d prefer to campaign and let voters know they have an option this year, but instead she and the others are tied up in court.

“I do feel positive about how the Supreme Court will rule. If the lower court found it unconstitutional then I suspect the Supreme Court will find it unconstitutional for them [the legislature] to pass this bill in the middle of the [election] process,” said Collazo.

Thirteen of the 14 plaintiffs in that lawsuit still have objections pending based on the slating law.

The other candidate facing an objection based on the slating law is Jay Keeven in the 112th House district. He was not a plaintiff in the lawsuit but, according to the Illinois State Board of Elections, the Supreme Court’s decision will likely determine the outcome of his objection as well.

Collazo said she was encouraged by the fact the decision made by the court will possibly help someone who isn’t a plaintiff.

“I know myself along with the other plaintiffs and whoever this helps, we want to go all the way with this [case] and we’re really hoping for the best outcome for not only the candidates but the voters,” said Collazo.

The plaintiffs challenged the new slating law and won in Sangamon County Circuit Court. The attorney general appealed that ruling directly to the Illinois Supreme Court and the court’s decision could likely determine whether the new slating law can be used to sustain the objections against 14 candidates and prevent them from being certified to the ballot by the state elections board at its Aug. 23 meeting.

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