Supreme Court candidate Krislov, 9 other judicial candidates off ballot after signature disputes

Attorney Clint Krislov, center, defends his Supreme Court candidacy before the Cook County Electoral Board on Thursday.

John Seasly

Attorney Clint Krislov, center, defends his Supreme Court candidacy before the Cook County Electoral Board on Thursday.

The Cook County Electoral Board on Thursday kicked several judicial hopefuls off the March primary election ballot, including attorney and Illinois Supreme Court candidate Clint Krislov.

Ten judicial candidates have withdrawn or been removed from the ballot in January because of signature disputes.

Candidates for each office must submit a certain number of valid signatures on their nomination petitions to be entered on the ballot, but registered party voters can  challenge the validity of their petitions under Illinois election law. However, it’s widely known that challengers are often proxies for one of their opponents.

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On Thursday, the board voted to remove the following candidates from the March primary ballot: circuit court candidate Elizabeth Anne Karkula, 6th Subcircuit candidate David S. Rodriguez, and Krislov, a latecomer to the Supreme Court race.

Krislov was removed from the ballot after a signature challenge left him just below the 5,050 signatures that were required. Though Krislov originally submitted 9,562 signatures, thousands were removed in a records exam, leaving him 118 signatures short.

Krislov, a Chicago-based attorney, has represented city retirees in healthcare benefits and pension disputes with the city, and previously ran unsuccessfully for the U.S. Senate, Illinois attorney general and comptroller offices.

Attorney Clinton A. Krislov

Krislov Law

Attorney Clinton A. Krislov

Krislov and his attorney Andrew Finko took issue Thursday with the signature verification process, arguing that examiners have limited training, and alleging that signatures were unfairly excluded.

Attorney Steve Laduzinsky, representing the challenge to Krislov’s signatures, countered that the real issue was Krislov’s decision to hire a signature gatherer who had been convicted of election fraud in DuPage County. Laduzinsky suggested that the person could have added a significant number of bogus signatures to Krislov’s petition.

“Mr. Krislov’s candidacy is dead at the hands of his own circulators,” Laduzinsky told the board.

The county board – whose three members serve as proxy voters for Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx and Clerk Karen Yarbrough – voted unanimously to remove Krislov from the ballot. Krislov said he plans to take further legal action, possibly over alleged First Amendment issues with the signature verification process, but he declined to specify further.

“The process has got to be accurate to the extent that it can be defended as being accurate,” he said.

But for now, he joins nine other judicial candidates, all who had been running in circuit and subcircuit races, who have either withdrawn or been removed from the ballot this month because of signature disputes. They include Dan Balanoff, Elizabeth Anne Karkula, Michael Weaver, Litricia Payne, David S. Rodriguez, Robert P. Groszek, Lisa A. Copland, La Vetta D. Williams and Pat Casey

Candidates often submit two to three times as many signatures to prevent or survive attempts to knock them off the ballot. Candidates’ signatures were verified in December, with names eliminated for a number of reasons. Some signatures didn’t match those on voter registration documents, or the signers were not registered party voters. In other cases, address discrepancies or clearly false names raised concerns.

Twenty-seven judicial candidates faced challenges.

A handful of challenges remain, which the board plans to vote on at 9 a.m. Tuesday.