Scott Summers, Green Party candidate for Governor, and the slate of Green Party statewide candidates, have filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to halt the state’s “binder check” process and have key provisions of the Illinois Election Code ruled unconstitutional.
On June 23, the Green Party filed 29,707 signatures to place Summers, U.S. Senate candidate Omar Lopez, and five other statewide candidates on the November ballot. A week later, the petition was challenged by Karen Yarbrough, Cook County Recorder of Deeds and long-time ally of Governor Pat Quinn.
“Voters want to see more than just one or two candidates on their ballots,” Summers says. “My campaign and this lawsuit challenge the election laws that choke off choice.”
The lawsuit makes three distinct allegations:
* The “binder check” process which is used to review petitions is unconstitutional, because it is biased against petitioning candidates, is subject to on-the-spot rules changes every year, and requires many hours on the part of candidates and supporters to defend signatures. No other state uses such a system.
* The “full slate” law which requires non-established parties to field candidates for all offices at a given jurisdictional level is unconstitutional for several reasons, especially equal protection and due process arguments under the 1st and 14th Amendments. In numerous counties either the Republicans or Democrats fail to field candidates for all county offices, yet the law demands that if a “new” party candidate wishes to run for county office, he or she must be part of a “full slate” for all county offices. Similarly, to run for Governor, a “new” party must field candidates for all other constitutional offices, whether they wish to or not.
* The notarization requirement for petitions is unconstitutional as it drastically limits approaches to organizing petition drives and yet fills no compelling state interest. Because petitions must be notarized, would-be signers cannot download a petition, sign it, and send it off, without first finding a notary, substantially curtailing their freedom of association.
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