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Illinois Libertarian Party Wins Court Victory for Easier Ballot Access

A 2012 lawsuit from the Illinois Libertarian Party (L.P.) has been resolved in their favor, with a decision for summary judgment on their behalf, reports Peoria Public Radio, making it easier for the L.P. to get on ballots without having to find candidates to run for a full slate of state offices or even county offices.

Existing Illinois law required third parties who hadn’t achieved full legal ballot access, but not Democrats or Republicans, to run a full slate to get any state or country candidates on the ballot.

Illinois Libertarian Party Chair Lex Green said that:

defenders of the law use “high-minded language, to say ‘We’re trying to keep whackos and nut jobs from getting on the ballot.’

“Which I would argue that just because they have an R or D after their name doesn’t mean they’re any more sane or less so than the Libertarians,” he says. “To me you can say whatever you want but it hides a political agenda. Because if you make the burden of getting on the ballot higher for somebody than for somebody else, then this is obviously unequal treatment under the law, which in my book is wrong … I personally think that it is all political maneuvering to keep the Democrats and Republicans in power in Illinois.”

The order issued Friday by Judge Andrea R. Wood of the Northern District U.S. Court finds the full slate law unconstitutional. Her reasoning isn’t yet known; a decision hasn’t been published.

Richard Winger at the irreplaceable Ballot Access News site has more context on the history of Illinois’ requirements, which came about to stymie the Communist Party back in 1931 when Illinois still had “cumulative voting” in state House races where voters had three votes they could distribute or concentrate among candidates as they pleased. They wanted to make sure that one Commie couldn’t benefit unduly from concentrated votes.

Reason reported on the suit when it was filed back in 2012. A different federal judge from the beginning found the state’s requirements questionable.

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