Silverstein Survives Ballot Challenge by 2 Signatures, Election Official Recommends

Embattled Illinois state Sen. Ira Silverstein should remain on the March Democratic primary ballot, a Chicago election official recommended Sunday.

Silverstein cleared a challenge to his nominating petitions with two signatures more than the required 1,000, Hearing Officer Maurice Sone concluded.

That ruling was based on evidence presented over the course of a protracted battle at the Board of Elections that began in December.

Despite the recommendation, one of the attorneys contesting the petition says that the fight to rule Silverstein off of the ballot is not over. 

"There are insufficient signatures, which we proved," election attorney Burt Odelson said. "The board or the court will rule him off the ballot. (It's) almost unbelievable an incumbent senator didn't have enough signatures." 

Silverstein is in a five-way primary for the 8th District Senate Seat on Chicago's North Side that he has held for 18 years.

Four other Democrats are opposing Silverstein to represent the Rogers Park area, including Ram Villivalam, Zehra Quadri, David Zulkey and Caroline Mcateer-Fournier.

Silverstein was accused of sexual harassment in October by a woman lobbying for a crime bill. A report released Thursday by the Illinois General Assembly's inspector general found that Silverstein made inappropriate comments and acted unprofessionally but did not harass the woman.

Nevertheless, that allegation led to an overhaul of the legislature's ethics rules, as well as new training for lawmakers.

While Sunday's ruling was certainly good news for Silverstein, the decision is not final and the battle is not over yet. The Electoral Board was slated to consider Sone's recommendation in a meeting Tuesday at 9:30 a.m.

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