* From a press release…
On June 23, the Libertarian Party of Illinois filed 43,921 petition signatures to gain ballot access for their full slate of statewide candidates for the 2014 general election. On June 30, Lake Forest resident Lou Atsaves and Highland Park resident Gary Gale filed an objection to 23,791 of those signatures. Kelly McCloskey, Chief Hearing Officer for the Illinois State Board of Elections, held an initial hearing regarding the objection on July 7.
The Objectors did not appear at the hearing; they were represented by John Fogarty, general counsel for the Illinois Republican Party. This raises an important question: who are these Objectors and who is financing the undertaking to deny the people of Illinois an additional choice in the voting booth this November?
The Signature Review Process
A key outcome of the hearing was an order for the State Board of Elections to begin the signature review process. The review is scheduled for July 14 -18 at the State Board of Elections office in Springfield. During each day of the review, a dozen taxpayer-funded State Board of Elections personnel will sit in front of computers to compare the 23,791 signatures and addresses in question to the database of registered voters. Libertarian volunteers will be on hand each day to assist in reclaiming signatures for their candidates. If past experience is any guide, the Objectors will have representatives present as well. Will they be personal friends of Lou Atsaves and Gary Gale?
“The deck is stacked against every new party and independent candidate in Illinois,” said Lex Green, Political Division Director of the Libertarian Party of Illinois. “The process is designed to eliminate political competition and real choices for Illinois voters.” Mr. Green went on to note the enormous waste of time, taxpayer money, and legal resources to combat what the Libertarian Party refers to as “ballot blocking” by the two major political parties in Illinois.
For statewide races in Illinois, Democrats and Republicans only need 5,000 valid signatures to obtain ballot slots, while all other parties and independent candidates are forced—by Illinois election law—to collect 25,000 valid signatures and then are subject to challenges like this one.
Ben Koyl, the attorney representing the Party and its candidates stated “The Libertarian Party of Illinois calls on all voters—regardless of party affiliation—to contact their legislative representatives and demand the civil right to equal ballot access laws in Illinois.”