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Libertarians object to apparent GOP-backed petition challenge

Monday, Jul 14, 2014

* 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.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        


38 Comments
  1. - Spliff - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 8:52 am:

    Wait a minute. I thought only the Democrats were against freedom and liberty. Your telling me the Republicans oppose that as well? Say it isn’t so!


  2. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:02 am:

    –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?–

    Yeah, it’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma, lol.

    Louis, could you help these folks out? Apparently, the incredibly obvious is outside the dorm room of the mind of the Libertarian “philosophy.”

    Maybe Jimmy John funded it in retaliation for using his subs as props in that silly presser.


  3. - Chi - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:04 am:

    Just a minute here, there must be a misprint. Michael Kasper is the guy that kicks candidates and amendments off the ballot, cause he wrote the laws. Republicans don’t do this sort of thing. The Trib editorial board told me so.


  4. - Anonymous - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:04 am:

    Is the Green Party no longer at established party status? I thought recent relative success (2006?) lowered the number of sigs they needed?


  5. - Chi - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:05 am:

    The Republicans must have stolen a copy of the state statutes.


  6. - OneMan - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:05 am:

    Is the Green Party no longer at established party status? I thought recent relative success (2006?) lowered the number of sigs they needed?

    They were, but I think you have to keep it up for each cycle.


  7. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:08 am:

    Rauner should want another candidate. Unlike 4 years ago, they will not be well-funded, and Quinn is more likely to lose voters to a 3rd party than Rauner, given how the 2 are perceived today.


  8. - wordslinger - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:16 am:

    Yeah, it’s a real mystery who the objectors are. Louis, could you help these guys out?


  9. - Plutocrat03 - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:17 am:

    I hate to wake up and find myself on the side of the Libertarians…..


  10. - too obvious - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:36 am:

    Sounds like they got a good signature cushion. Hopefully they’ll survive.

    In the meantime, shouldn’t we expect Jeanne Ives to come out and call the Illinois GOP traitors to democracy? And where is the Chicago Tribune editorial?


  11. - Spliff - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:41 am:

    Quinn wouldn’t lose voters to libertarians….Rauner would. just saying.


  12. - lake county democrat - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 9:52 am:

    Power to the people!


  13. - Rob Roy - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:05 am:

    Nether party wants competition it’s not a republican or democrat thing. The deck is stacked in both of there favors and they don’t want it changed, it is time to change it. All they have to do is do a good job for us and stop doing what they think we need to have done to us and they will get elected. Change this now we want more choice.


  14. - Just Observing - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    It really is a shame the extra burden placed upon non-traditional parties in order to put on the ballot.


  15. - Oswego Willy - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:26 am:

    ===Quinn wouldn’t lose voters to libertarians….Rauner would. just saying.===

    Educated voters, that is very true.

    Quinn detractors versus Rauner detractors? There seems to be more of a flavor of voters peeling of Quinn then voters peeling off Rauner when the other is unacceptable too.


  16. - Under Further Review - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:29 am:

    Being treated as an established party is an ongoing thing.

    Third parties need to achieve and then maintain “majority party” status by continuing to poll about 10% of the vote. Otherwise, the third parties eventually drop back to needing larger amounts of petition signatures.

    Some new parties achieved the required numbers for a few election cycles and then vanished (such as the Illinois Solidarity Party).


  17. - Anon - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    I won’t hold my breath waiting for the Trib editorial denouncing the GOP for trying to deny voters a choice. It’s only Madigan that gets that treatment.


  18. - Louis G Atsaves - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:33 am:

    I’ve been pretty busy hiding in plain view!


  19. - Anon - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:38 am:

    Why the Trib double standard on petition challenges? It couldn´t be based on partisanship, could it?


  20. - Frustrated Voter - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:39 am:

    It is ridiculous that independent and 3rd party candidates have to collect 5 times as many signatures as the Rs and Ds. However, it’s the law, and blaming someone for challenging your bogus signatures isn’t the answer. Either follow the law and get legit signatures, or get the law changed regarding the signature requirement.


  21. - PoolGuy - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 10:44 am:

    so Ben Koyl wants D, R and I voters to call on their D and R legislators to demand ballot access for L’s? priceless…


  22. - William j Kelly - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    =====rauner should want another candidate==== unless you have been living in a dope cave you would understand that rauner doesn’t believe there should be ANY other candidates.


  23. - Under Further Review - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    I have never understood why Illinois doesn’t allow candidates to post cash bonds as an alternative to filing petitions. In many other states, bonds are refunded if the candidates pull a certain percentage of the vote.

    Then again, this being Illinois, I ought to understand why those in power want fewer contested election races.


  24. - Richard Winger - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    There is plenty of problems with Illinois ballot access laws besides the 25,000 for statewide office. Illinois has the nation’s 3rd highest petition requirement for independent candidates for US House. Also Illinois is one of only eleven states that lacks any procedure by which a group can transform itself into a qualified party in advance of any particular election.


  25. - titan - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 12:36 pm:

    While a Democratic or Republican candidate needs only 5,000 valid signatures to get on the Primary ballot, he/she needs to win the Primary to get to the November election.

    New parties go straight to the November ballot. The trade off for fewer signatures is having to win 2 elections instead of one


  26. - Rob Roy - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 1:14 pm:

    titan…..most people vote party line or name recognition and are very uninformed as to what the candidate they are voting for stands for. What harm does it do to add another name to the ballet? Why 5X the names? do away with it and the 3rd party can have primary elections too. We need more choices. The 2 party system has given us??? Are we prospering now with the 2 established parties?


  27. - Carl Nyberg - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 1:20 pm:

    At IVI-IPO fundraiser last week, organization got Gov. Quinn and Green Party nominee to speak, Scott “The Cylops” Summers.

    SS started with a complaint his nominating petitions are being challenged. IMO, it was pretty weak.


  28. - chris michel - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 5:46 pm:

    Sounds like nobody seems to care that it’s the taxpayers footing the nearly $30 million a year bill to pay for the State Board of Elections. If ballot access were fee based, Illinois could be making money instead of wasting it.


  29. - Rob Roy - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 7:33 pm:

    Chris here is an idea, let anybody donated any amount to a race not a candidate and every candidate gets an equal share for that race and nobody gets an unfair advantage. Everybody could get there position out to the voters and we could do away with most of the State Board of Elections.


  30. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Monday, Jul 14, 14 @ 11:15 pm:

    Willy:

    Last I heard, Rauner has Second Amendment problems.

    The last thing a Republican who supports gun control needs in his race is a Libertarian.


  31. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 8:25 am:

    - YDD -,

    Wonder if with the 2A issues it can be impactful in the raw votes. I don’t know because Rauner is a candidate defined by voting against your better self.

    “Rauner isn’t for/against ‘X’, but with thus election, this time, I will vote for him anyway.”

    It’s not the 80% rule, it’s the “I don’t agree too much, but” rule.


  32. - Gary Trieste - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 11:17 am:

    What is the cover story for making it 10x harder for underfunded third parties to get on the ballot?
    The real reasons are obvious, but I don’t even see how it is justified in any logical stance.
    It is the established parties who have the resources to reach a higher standard, not the third parties.
    It all so obviously reeks with cronyism.


  33. - metal - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    “It is ridiculous that independent and 3rd party candidates have to collect 5 times as many signatures as the Rs and Ds. However, it’s the law, and blaming someone for challenging your bogus signatures isn’t the answer. Either follow the law and get legit signatures, or get the law changed regarding the signature requirement. ”

    Every non-established party candidate was challenged. You’re saying that every one of them filed bogus signatures? Please.

    You will see, just like in 2010, that this was a huge waste of time, and the Libertarians will be on the ballot. Then will you retract your baseless claim?


  34. - Whispers - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 5:52 pm:

    Trieste, what “standards” are you referring to. The corrupt or the greedy standards. Ballot blocking takes away voter choice…and as long as the “duopoly” keep it up, we will be stuck with the same old garbage, and nothing changes.


  35. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 10:01 pm:

    All I ask you Louis is…….

    Why don’t you believe in fair elections?


  36. - A Libertarian - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 10:38 pm:

    Everyone who collects signatures try to collect legitimate signatures, especially Libertarians and other 3rd party candidates since we know every signature will be scrutinized. The people signing them have no idea what happens when they aren’t registered to vote or have moved without notifying their local registrar of voters. Those are the two most common reasons for signatures being invalidated. That is not the fault of the signature collecting volunteers. We can only share the rules with the people we ask for their signatures. Libertarians are not in the primaries because we don’t have that many candidates wanting the same job. That is the purpose of primaries. Libertarians choose their candidates at their state conventions. Republicans and Democrats demand that taxpayers pay for their primaries. Libertarians cost the people NOTHING to get on the ballot. If you want to criticize a party, criticize the Republicans and Democrats for not doing it the way the Libertarians do it.


  37. - gary p - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 11:06 pm:

    “Rauner would. just saying.===”

    What is the implication of “just saying” in this context? Are you “just saying” something but not really meaning it or standing behind it? What do you mean?


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