Parnarauskis to appear on Illinois ballot

By Kathleen Foody

After being blocked for weeks from the 52nd District’s state senatorial election, Joe Parnarauskis, Socialist Equality Party candidate, was approved at 1 p.m. Thursday afternoon by the Illinois State Board of Elections for inclusion on the ballot.

“This is not only a victory for the Socialist Equality Party, but it is a victory for citizens in the 52nd District and nationwide,” Parnarauskis said in a press release.

“It is a repudiation of the undemocratic efforts by the Democratic Party to deny the voters in my district the right to vote for a candidate of their choice,” he added.

Steve Sturm, legal counsel for the ISBE, said the board met by conference call Thursday in response to a court order issued on Tuesday by Judge Patrick Kelley.

Sturm said the board voted unanimously to amend their certification and place Parnarauskis on the ballot.

One member voted by proxy and the other seven members participated via conference call.

Board members are not required to elaborate on why they voted a certain way, and there was no comment from any of them today, he said.

The board’s amended certification was forwarded to the three affected districts by 2 p.m., Sturm added.

Mike Frerichs, Democratic candidate for the seat, said he is ready to move on but is glad Parnarauskis was certified today.

“It is time to give voters what they deserve, and that is candidates who go to them and debate the issues openly and honestly,” he said.

Frerichs said he extended Paranarauskis an invitation to participate in a series of debates last Tuesday, before the board’s certification was amended yesterday.

Bill Cleeland, campaign spokesperson for Republican Judy Myers, said they are pleased Parnarauskis is on the ballot.

“We have been saying for weeks that he had the constitutional right to run in this race,” Cleeland said.

“We’ve been doing this campaign from the beginning,” Parnarauskis said. “We are now able to pull our resources away from this fight for ballot access and focus on the campaign.”