Illinois Libertarians file statewide candidate petitions, push for better ballot access laws
SPRINGFIELD (WGEM) - The Libertarian Party of Illinois filed roughly 37,000 petition signatures with the State Board of Elections Monday for their statewide candidates to appear on the November ballot. July 11 was the final day for independent and new party candidates to file their nomination papers.
Illinois Libertarian Party Chairman Steve Suess argues Illinois has some of the worst ballot access laws in the country. He noted that Democrats and Republicans wishing to run for statewide office only need to meet 10% of the threshold for signatures required for third-party and independent candidates.
In fact, candidates from established parties only need 3,250 signatures while the state requires independent and third-party candidates to have 25,000 signatures. Former Sen. Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) and Sen. Jason Barickman (R-Bloomington) drafted bills over the past five years to address the issue. However, those proposals never received votes from the General Assembly.
“Democrats are constantly stumping on voter suppression. I hear it every single day,” Suess said. “Yet, they continue to suppress the vote by keeping candidates off the ballot.”
The Libertarians hope their slate of statewide candidates can receive at least 5% of the entire vote in the November election in order to become an established political party in Illinois.
Scott Schluter is the Libertarian candidate for governor with John Phillips running as lieutenant governor. Jesse White, who is not related to Democrat Jesse White, hopes to become Secretary of State.
Schluter, an Iraq veteran and diesel mechanic in Southern Illinois, says third-party candidates should not have to jump through so many hurdles in order to make the ballot. He feels the established parties in Illinois don’t want to give residents the opportunity to vote for who they truly want as leaders.
Schluter explained he wants to lower taxes and reduce government bureaucracy while building people up instead of tearing everyone apart along party lines.
“I think I have a real opportunity, being somewhat in the middle, to use good ideas from the left and good ideas from the right and just come up with common sense approaches to actually start repairing problems of this state,” Schluter said.
Of course, Schluter is taking on billionaire Gov. J.B. Pritzker and millionaire Sen. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) in the November election. While he won’t have nearly the amount of money the Democrats and Republicans do in their campaign coffers, Schluter said he plans to utilize social media, data analytics and targeted advertising with voter lists.
Bill Redpath hopes to become the next U.S. Senator for Illinois. Although, he’ll face a tough battle against Democratic Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Republican Kathy Salvi. Redpath said many people he talks to are extremely dissatisfied with the state of government in Illinois. He said residents desire more options and deeper policy discussions. Redpath said allowing a more open ballot and more candidates could allow everyone to have their voices heard.
“I think we would reduce the size of government. I think we could introduce school choice, which is definitely a topic on the rise in this nation,” Redpath said. “There’s reform of the tax system. I think we need to take a look at reducing the corporate income tax in this state. We’ve lost Caterpillar headquarters and Citadel has announced they are leaving the state.”
During a time when Illinois politics has become extremely polarized, Suess noted many people said they “don’t do politics” when asked if they could sign a petition. He feels the negative climate Republicans and Democrats have created left a severe mark on the state’s culture. Phillips said people are constantly told to be divided when many Americans are in the middle on political issues.
“Hey, there are other choices and there are compromises available,” Phillips said. “All these people come to us and they say we want the government to fix this or fix that. When was the last time the government fixed anything? When was the last time the government did something right? They don’t. They make these problems worse and make these divides worse.”
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