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May 19, 2022
On Friday, Madison County State’s Attorney Tom Haine filed a lawsuit looking to block what he noted as a “dubious” new Illinois law. Now, according to the law, judicial elections are required to be decided by voters in new sub-circuits instead of in countywide elections.
The sponsors of the bill have argued that new sub-circuits would let voters decide on more diverse judges in some counties.
Although most of the judicial circuits that had judicial sub-circuits added will not make use of them to choose judges until the year 2024, the law has taken immediate effect in the state’s Third Judicial Circuit governing Madison County, where two Republicans who were appointed to fill vacancies will be up for election to full six-year terms this coming November.
“This sub-circuit law has serious Constitutional issues and is being rushed forward in a reckless way,” said Haine in a statement on Saturday.
“We are arguing that a pause is warranted here to let clearer heads prevail. With this pause, our upcoming 2022 judicial elections can be held countywide, as they have always been, while the courts closely review this very dubious new sub-circuit scheme.”
Right now, voters in Madison County elect eight judges at large. Bond County, which is covered by the Third Judicial Circuit, has one judge elected by voters.
“No explanation is provided in the act for the disenfranchisement of the 3rd sub-circuit, which assigns only two resident judgeships even though the population is substantially similar to the 1st and 2nd sub-circuits,” Haine’s lawsuit details.
The state’s attorney says the act used out-of-date precincts in order to draw the new sub-circuits, and he also argues that the law going into effect immediately will confuse voters.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: ONTOWNMEDIA.COM