- Associated Press - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A Sangamon County judge is considering an appeal by Republican attorneys to remove a Libertarian candidate for Illinois governor from the November ballot.

Circuit Judge Patrick Kelley heard arguments Wednesday in Springfield over the appeal, in which the GOP attorneys question the validity of the voter signatures the Libertarian candidate gathered to get on the ballot. The conservative candidate could draw votes that otherwise would go to Republican candidate Bruce Rauner (ROW’-nur).

The State Board of Elections decided last month to allow Libertarian governor candidate Chad Grimm to appear on the ballot alongside Rauner and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn.

At the same time, the board ruled that Green Party, Constitution and Independent candidates should not be included on the ballot because the parties gathered too few valid signatures. Democratic Party attorneys had challenged the validity of the signatures for the Green candidate, who could have taken votes away from Quinn.

John Fogarty, an attorney for the Illinois Republican party, says the attorneys questioned signatures gathered by several petition circulators. They argued that a number of signatures were invalid because they were illegible, not genuine, and because petition circulators didn’t reside at their stated addresses.

Attorneys representing the Libertarians had asked a judge to dismiss the case because the Sangamon County court did not have proper jurisdiction in the case. The court overruled that motion on the grounds that the State Board of Elections meeting was held via video conference in Springfield as well as in Chicago.

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