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Tio Hardiman's running mate should be kicked off ballot: hearing officer

Updated: January 15, 2014 10:00AM

SPRINGFIELD-Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tio Hardiman should be allowed to remain on the March 18 primary ballot but his running mate should be barred from having her name appear alongside his, a state hearing officer has determined.

That good news/bad news recommendation disclosed Tuesday by the State Board of Elections now awaits a ruling by the eight-member state election board perhaps as early as Thursday in a decision that could ultimately wind up in the courts.

The board’s chief legal counsel, Steve Sandvoss, also has to weigh in on the case. His recommendation along with that of hearing officer Barbara Goodman will be presented Thursday to the state board.

Allies to Gov. Pat Quinn had attempted to drive Hardiman and his running mate, Brunell Donald, from the ballot, alleging that Hardiman lacked the necessary 5,000 registered voters to get on the ballot and that Donald was not a registered voter.

Goodman determined that Hardiman, in fact, had met the signature threshold with 5,876 valid names on his nominating petitions that were submitted to the election board last month.

But Donald did not meet the requirement of a state law that dictates lieutenant governor candidates be legally registered to vote, Goodman ruled.

Donald had been registered at an earlier address but not at the residence on East 54th Street she listed on her statement of candidacy, Goodman said.

Hardiman was not immediately available for comment.

The split decision casts broader questions on a new state law that requires gubernatorial candidates to be on a ticket with their running mates. If Goodman’s decision is embraced by the full election board, Democratic primary voters will be able to choose between a Quinn and Paul Vallas ticket and a partial ticket that includes only Hardiman’s name.

The Legislature imposed that new requirement in response to the results of the 2010 Democratic primary that, for a time, had paired Quinn with the the leading vote-getter for lieutenant governor, Scott Lee Cohen.

Cohen faced embarrassing domestic abuse allegations that Quinn wanted no part of and that ultimately forced Cohen to relinquish his spot on the ballot.

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