A press release from the Green Party of Illinois:
Ruling Expected Thursday on Green Party’s Ballot Fight
CHICAGO – The Illinois Green Party will learn Thursday whether its statewide candidates will have a fair fight in the November general election.
A federal judge will rule on whether to give the party an injunction which would allow its candidates on the ballot despite challenges from the Democratic Party.
Judge John Tharp held a hearing Wednesday in the federal court for the Northern District of Illinois. The judge heard the party’s motion for emergency relief in the lawsuit, Summers v. Smart.
The lawsuit was filed by the Illinois Green Party, its state slate candidates, and party member Rita Maniotis against various members of the Illinois State Board of Elections. Gubernatorial candidate Scott Summers is the lead plaintiff.
The lawsuit challenges the state’s circulator-notarization requirement, complete-slate requirement, and the binder-check process.
The motion for emergency relief asks that the party’s statewide candidates be certified for the November general election ballot.
State law requires that “new” or non-established parties gather at least 25,000 petition signatures in a 90-day period in order to be on the ballot. Established parties, such as the Democratic and Republican parties, must gather only 5,000 petition signatures for the same privilege.
The Green Party exceeded the unreasonable, unfair requirement, and collected almost 30,000 signatures of Illinois registered voters who wanted to see the Green Party on the November ballot.
But Gov. Quinn’s fellow Democrat, Karen Yarbrough, Cook County Recorder of Deeds, decided that the Green Party had not jumped through enough hoops, decided to turn a deaf ear to the voices of 30,000 Illinois voters asking for democracy. Yarbrough filed an objection.
Yarbrough’s action, if left unchecked, will limit choices and stifle democracy for Illinois voters.
“The deck is stacked against Illinois citizens,” Summers said. “The Democrats and Republicans intend to keep it that way. No chances for new choices. No voter mandates for change.”
“Look at what big party politics has given us,” he continued. “Unfair taxation, monstrous state debt, stubbornly high unemployment, inequality in education, a safety net in tatters.”
“How much longer does Illinois have to endure this?” Summers asked. “Why can’t we go to the polls and vote for fresh ideas and new solutions instead of the massive policy failures inflicted on us by the Republicans and Democrats?”
Judge Tharp will rule Thursday morning on the injunction, he said. The hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. at the federal courthouse, 219 S. Dearborn St., room 1419.
The Illinois Green Party also filed a separate federal lawsuit Thursday in support of its state representative candidates. The party, its two southern Illinois State Representative candidates, Tabitha Tripp and Gary Shepherd, and several Green Party supporters filed Tripp & Shepherd v. Smart in the southern district (Benton).
The suit is patterned on parts of Summers v. Smart but also challenges the state’s 5 percent-minimum-signature requirement. The 5-percent rule states that candidates who run for local office representing “new” parties must, in order to be on the ballot, gather petition signatures that equal at least 5 percent of the number of voters who voted in the last election in the district.
Less than three months ago, Gov. Quinn said, “Democracy works best when everyone participates.”
We in the Illinois Green Party could not agree more.