By Mark Wachtler
April 13, 2016. Chicago (ONN) If you wanted to run for Congress here in Illinois, and you are a Democrat or Republican, you would need only about 500 signatures. But if you wanted to run as an independent, a Libertarian, a Green or a Constitution Party candidate, you would need about 15,000 signatures. That doesn’t seem fair, does it? Now consider you are one of those third parties and you want to run an entire slate of candidates. The requirements are nearly insurmountable, and that’s no accident.
Illinois Libertarians collecting ballot access petition signatures. Image courtesy of DupageLibertarians.org.
Last time around
Two years ago, both the Libertarian Party and the Green Party submitted enough petition signatures to have all their candidates listed on the Illinois election ballot. But as always, the Democrats challenged the Greens’ petitions and the Republicans challenged the Libertarians’ petitions. Even though the Greens collected more than enough signatures, they didn’t have the financial resources to fight the court battles against the Democrats and their entire slate of candidates was left off the ballot.
The Libertarians were nearly left off as well, but were eventually listed thanks to frantic midnight drives across the state to Springfield, sleeping in cars to defend their petitions day after day, and a desperate fundraising effort to pay the necessary legal fees to fend off the Republican challenge. All that just to be able to run for office. Now readers can see why independents and third parties insist the election system is rigged to help the two establishment parties.
Petition drives begin
In Illinois, to have their candidates listed on the 2016 General Election ballot, third party candidates have a 90-day window to collect tens of thousands of valid petition signatures. That process has just begun and the signatures must be turned in to the Board of Elections by June 27th. Right now, the Libertarians, Greens, Constitution Party and the Veterans Party are asking for volunteers to help circulate petitions.
“Want a Green Party candidate for President on the ballot in Illinois?” Chicago Green Party Chair Nancy Wade asked supporters last week, “To make this happen, we have only twelve weeks to gather 45,000 signatures of registered Illinois voters - from March 29 to June 26. The completed petitions must be submitted to the Illinois Board of Elections in Springfield on June 27, the last day to file.”
Wade went on to tout the Party’s Presidential frontrunner saying, “I am the Chair of the Chicago Green Party and the Illinois Ballot Access Coordinator for the Jill Stein 2016 campaign. Jill Stein is the front runner Party-wide, and the recognized Presidential candidate in Illinois. Jill Stein for President will be at the top of the slate on our Illinois Green Party petitions, along with Bill Kreml, Vice President; Scott Summers, Senator; and Tim Curtin, Illinois Comptroller. The ILGP and the Stein campaign are coordinating in getting this slate on the ballot.”
To volunteer to help Green candidates collect petition signatures, visit the Illinois Green Party at ILGP.org.
“Petition drives to get Illinois Libertarians on the ballot for Election 2016 have begun and there is a drumbeat of excitement across our state,” a recent announcement from the Libertarian Party of Illinois began, “Did you know we need to collect nearly 500 signatures each and every day during the drive to reach our goal? Spring in Illinois might be delayed, but we can’t be.”
The Libertarian announcement went on to say, “In addition to our statewide candidates for Senate and Comptroller – Kenton McMillen and Claire Ball – we also have two District candidates who will be petitioning to get on the ballot in Illinois this year: Scott Schluter running for State Rep in District 117 and Jake Leonard running for State Rep in District 95. Each of these bold Libertarians faces the daunting task of collecting thousands of signatures from voters in their individual Districts.”
To volunteer to help Libertarian candidates collect petition signatures, visit the Libertarian Party of Illinois at LPIllinois.org.
Joining the Greens and Libertarians in the frantic effort to collect enough ballot access petition signatures is the Constitution Party of Illinois. A recent Party statement announced, “On March 13, the Constitution Party of Illinois held a state convention and nominated Chad Koppie for US Senate. They need to collect at least 25,000 petition signatures between March 29 and June 20.”
The announcement went on to tout the Constitution Party US Senate candidate saying, “In 2008, Mr. Koppie was the Constitution Party nominee for the US Senate. In 1998, he was the only conservative Republican who ran against George Ryan in the primary. Koppie got 13% of the vote. Mr. Koppie is in his second term on the Kane Co. Regional Board of Schools. He was a township trustee and a school board member. He’s been a farmer, pilot, and soldier.”
To volunteer to help the Constitution Party of Illinois get its US Senate candidate on the ballot, visit the campaign’s website at ChadKoppieForIllinois.com.
Joining the fray this election cycle is the brand new Veterans Party. Their Illinois affiliate is attempting to run its first candidate in the state of Illinois this November. The candidate’s name is Chris Aguayo and the Illinois Herald was fortunate enough to interview him last month.
When asked about the astronomical ballot access requirements here in Illinois, the Veterans Party candidate replied, “I need 25,000 signatures in order to appear on the ballot. Realistically, I need 50,000-60,000 signatures to ensure I have enough remaining signatures after the other parties audit my petition. Already established parties like the Democrats and Republicans only need 5,000 signatures to appear on the ballot.”
To volunteer to help Veterans Party candidate Chris Aguayo appear on the Illinois ballot, visit his campaign website at ChrisAguayo2016.com.
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