Judge rules in favor of Republicans in staples vs. paper clip debate

Published: Sep. 6, 2012 at 10:12 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 7, 2012 at 1:08 PM CDT
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MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - A judge ruled paper clips prevail in an on-going debate involving paper clips and staples in Jackson County.

The court battle began after a group of republican candidates for circuit clerk, state's attorney and county board were booted off the ballot for not stapling their nomination papers.

The all democrat Jackson County Electoral Board rejected the papers on the grounds that paper clips did not comply with an election law saying candidate filings must be "securely fastened."

Wednesday, Judge Todd Lambert ruled paper clips are secure enough. Lambert ordered Jackson County place the three republicans on the ballot.

"This is a great triumph. Not for republicans, but for the citizens of Jackson County," said County Republican Party Chairwoman Gloria Campos. "We now have a choice. It's not going to be you get a ballot with just one party, one candidate."

The judge's decision comes down just in the nick of time. County Clerk Larry Reinhardt says the deadline for ballot changes was Thursday. The judge's ruling Wednesday puts the names on the ballot without any cost to the county due to changes to the ballot after printing has begun.

"The objectors could still appeal to the appellate or Supreme Court but I would imagine it's over," said Reinhardt. "We hope it's over from our point of view, we hope the changes are done."

Reinhardt says they'll start the process of printing ballots next week.

Political scientist John Jackson with SIU's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute says the all-democrat election board's rejection of the candidates' paperwork could help republicans gain ground on incumbents.

"I don't think the campaign is over, but I think it gave the republicans a gift they wouldn't have had," Jackson said. "It gave them the media attention they wouldn't have had, and gave them a campaign boost."

Republican candidates say now that they know they'll be on the ballot they'll be kicking their campaigns into high gear in the coming weeks.

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