A typical election year in Illinois is a fight to the death for Libertarians, Green Party candidates, independents, and other minor party candidates. The state of Illinois requires statewide candidates to get approximately 5,000 signature but that’s only if you’re Republican or Democrat or an established party regularly earning more than 5% of the vote in an election cycle. What happens if you’re not established or running as an independent? Welcome to the world of getting 25,000+ signatures for the same political office an established party only needs to get 5,000 for. These numbers vary with smaller local offices but you’ll still often see 5-10x the amount of signatures requirements at this level of government. You’ll even find that Democrats and Republicans contesting the petitions of these candidates where they’ll try to find as many invalid signatures or errors on the petitions as possible.
The Libertarian Party, Green Party and others made multiple attempts to reach J.B. Pritzker, members of congress, and the State Board of Elections over the past few months. The governor failed to return any calls, congress members stated they had no power in the matter, and the State Board of Elections denied such relief was within their abilities. The Libertarian Party, Green Party, and multiple individuals sued J.B. Pritzker in his official capacity as Governor of Illinois and the Illinois State Board of Elections back on 4/2/20. The basis of the cases was that the COVID-19 pandemic, stay at home orders, and ballot access requirement had made it impossible for them to petition for ballot access in 2020. The plaintiffs demanded ballot access relief to promote fair elections across the state which current situations have prevented.
On Thursday April 23rd, U.S. District Court Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ordered ballot access relief for the Libertarian Party, Green Party, other minor parties, and independent candidates in Illinois. The order states “candidates will need 10% of the original legal requirement. The petition deadline is extended from June 22nd to August 7th. Signatures can be obtained on a signer’s computer via an electronic signature, although the candidate or party must then print out the results and transport a piece of paper to election officials. Also, if a minor party was on the ballot in either 2016 or 2018 for an office that is up in 2020, then it is automatically on the ballot for those same offices in 2020.” The order stated by Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer will grant hundreds of candidates across the state fair access to ballots in 2020. The entire state of Illinois will now see fair election during the 2020 election cycle despite the COVID-19 pandemic.