9th Dist. GOP candidate appeals her dismissal from ballot

Susanne Atanus, a candidate in the Republican primary for the 9th Congressional District, says she is appealing a court decision that takes her off the Feb. 2 ballot.

The Cook County Circuit Court on Tuesday overturned an earlier Cook County Electoral Board decision to leave Atanus on the ballot after the objector, Ira Kahn of Skokie, appealed.

Atanus was removed from the ballot because her candidate petition failed to meet state standards and did not include all the required information, court records show.

Since early voting has begun, paper ballots and touch screens already have been prepared with the candidates' names, a Cook County Clerk's Office spokeswoman confirmed Friday.

Atanus' name will still appear on physical ballots used to cast votes. However, election judges have been notified that Atanus has been removed from the ballot. Voters also will be told when they cast their ballots during early voting and on Feb. 2, Cook County Clerk's Office spokeswoman Courtney Greve said.

According to the Electoral Board's ruling on the original objection filed against Atanus' candidate petition, she did not include the date of the election on a portion of the petitions with signatures.

"This is one of two late decisions that will result in candidates being on the ballot but those votes will be suppressed, and we will be handing out notices," Greve said.

Atanus, 51, of Des Plaines is a certified paralegal with 18 years of experience with the U.S. General Services Administration.

Atanus, meanwhile, said she filed an appeal to the circuit court's decision Thursday and has requested an expedited judgment.

"I have not been kicked off the ballot yet," Atanus said. "The other candidates for this seat so far have not shown anything to solve the country's problems."

Atanus said the original objection was amended before it reached the circuit court, which should not happen.

"The judge should have known better," she said. "So I believe I will win in appeals court."

As for the missing election date from a portion of her petition, Atanus said she was under the impression after reading state statute and rules for filling out election petitions that it was not required.

"The voters knew what they were signing," she said.

Barring any reversal by the Appellate Court, the race becomes uncontested. Joel Barry Pollak, 32, a human rights lawyer from Skokie. is the only other Republican candidate on the ballot.

"I think it would have been good for us to have a debate and a spirited primary contest," Pollak said. "However, I think the more important point is that the integrity of the primary ballot and the transparency of the electoral process has been upheld."

Pollak admitted he knows the Skokie man who filed the objection to Atanus' petition.

"We met each other recently and he's a supporter," he said.

Pollak said he now is looking ahead to the general election in November.

The 9th Congressional District Democratic candidate is incumbent U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston. Green party primary candidates are Simon Ribeiro of Evanston and Morris Shanfield of Chicago.

If the Appellate Court rejects Atanus' appeal, she may still run as a write-in candidate for that office, as she did in November 2008. In 2008, Atanus ran as a Democrat for the 9th District seat.

The deadline for filing to run as a write-in candidate in the Feb. 2 primary passed on Dec. 3. But a candidate who was removed by the court has until Jan. 26 - seven calendar days before the election - to file as a write-in candidate.

The Electoral Board's original decision allowing Atanus to remain on the ballot can be viewed at filing.pdf.

Joel Pollak