By Mark Wachtler
July 12, 2014. Springfield. (ONN) One of the reasons the Democratic Party has an eternal super-majority in Illinois is, well, because our state’s elections system is rigged. Yes, it’s true. Sorry you had to find out like this. And demonstrating just how corrupt our election process has become, the Libertarian Party of Illinois is in the battle of its life just to appear on November’s election ballot. The IL GOP has pulled out all the stops to get the Libertarians kicked off and now the grassroots opposition party needs some emergency help.
Illinois Libertarians turned in 43,921 ballot access signatures, and they’re still being challenged by the IL GOP. Image courtesy of LPIllinois.org.
Consider the following fact from this year’s General Election here in Illinois as evidence of just how unfair the system has become. In order for an election candidate to run for office and have his or her name printed on the November ballot here, they need to collect and turn in a certain number of valid ballot access petition signatures. How many signatures?
No. of Signatures needed for any Congressional candidate to appear on the 2014 IL election ballot (from the Illinois Board of Elections):
*Each quantity is slightly different for each of Illinois’ 18 Congressional Districts. They above are averages of all 18.
Readers can see why all their Republican and Democratic Party elected officials always seem to run unopposed every election. In fact, in this year’s coming General Election, less than half of the state’s 18 Congressmen will have a major party opponent in the November election. Two years ago, 90% of Illinois incumbent State Senators had no opponents at all, while 78% of IL State Representatives had the same luxury.
Illinois Libertarian Party puts out call for help
As if the above requirements aren’t difficult enough, even when an opposition party like the Libertarians collects and submits more than enough signatures, they still have their petitions challenged by one of the two establishment parties. Historically, the Democrats challenge Green Party petitions, and the Republicans challenge the Libertarians. That was the case this week at the Illinois Board of Elections in Springfield.
“The enormous 25,000-signature obstacle created by the Illinois legislature to keep third party candidates off the ballot and blocking alternate choices for Illinois voters didn't work,” IL Libertarian Party political director Lex Green said two weeks ago when party leaders initially turned in their ballot access signatures, “Special thanks go out to our hard-working volunteers, donors, and candidates.”
This weekend, that message has changed to an emergency call for help. ‘In an attempt to keep the people of Illinois from having the option of voting Libertarian, Republicans challenged our petitions,’ the state party’s website explains, ‘Not only did the challengers object to over 24,000 of our signatures, but they also took the time to individually single out 38 of our circulators in an attempt to get every signature collected by each of those individuals thrown out.’
Heading to Springfield to monitor the monitors
The Illinois Libertarians aren’t going down without a fight. This wouldn’t be the first time that the Democratic Party-controlled state Board of Elections unjustly disqualified legitimate opposition candidates who satisfied all the outrageous requirements. As just one example, when President Barack Obama was running for local office before he became famous, the BOE routinely kicked all his opponents off the ballot to insure he ran unopposed and was guaranteed victory.
It’s basically standard operating procedure here in Illinois. Sometimes they find one invalid signature and reject all 30,000 over it. Sometimes, as in the case of the Green Party a couple years ago, the BOE “accidentally” forgets to print the party’s entire slate of candidates on the ballot. Whoops. This election, after collecting 43,921 ballot access signatures, the Libertarian Party of Illinois is heading to Springfield to defend them, and they want you to come with.
Illinois Libertarian Attorney General Candidate Ben Koyl is leading the party’s legal defense along with volunteer attorney Ross Secler. They are representing the LP candidates at the State Board of Elections hearings next week. At the same time, political director Lex Green will lead a team of volunteers who will take advantage of the opportunity to have representatives present as BOE employees inspect each challenged signature.
Green explains, “The State Board of Elections will have ten employees in Springfield reviewing each signature in question next week, the week of July 14. We need ten volunteers each day to reclaim enough signatures for our candidates to stay on the ballot.” The schedule is expected to be Monday-Friday, from about 8:30am to 4:30pm each day at the State Board of Elections in Springfield.
Showing just how ‘grassroots’ America’s political opposition is, the Libertarians will be making the all-day drive to the state capitol by any means possible, including planes, trains and automobiles. They are departing this weekend without even knowing where they are going to sleep for the week. Some have already confirmed they’ve located a nearby campground where they will sleep outside at night, or in their cars if the weather isn’t cooperative. In response, the state party is also asking for donations to help pay for gas, food and some cheap motel rooms for the volunteers.
For more information, visit the Libertarian Party of Illinois at LPIllinois.org.
Subscribe to the Illinois Herald. Only 1 weekly email in your inbox. It's FREE and you can unsubscribe at any time. Subscribe now!
The Illinois Herald is an independent, grassroots news outlet. Without the support of readers and subscribers like yourself, we couldn't continue publishing. Please consider making a small donation to help us in our efforts. It's truly appreciated.