We have received several questions about the listing of Green candidates on the ballot this November. This will, hopefully, answer all of the questions we can:
The ballot for my city/county shows Jill Stein and Howie Hawkins as the Green Party candidates for President and Vice-President. But isn’t Cheri Honkala the Vice-Presidential candidate?
Yes, Cheri Honkala is the correct Green Party candidate for Vice-President. Unfortunately, her name will not appear on the ballot anywhere in Illinois.
If Cheri is the real VP candidate, why is her name not on the ballot? Who is Howie Hawkins?
The Green Party placed its presidential ticket on the ballot this year by petitioning. Petitioning began before our national convention, so we had to identify a candidate for President and Vice-President on the petition. Jill Stein won the Illinois online primary, and it was also fairly clear that she would win the Green nomination, so her name was put on our petition as the candidate for President. Her campaign in turn designated Howie Hawkins as the stand-in Vice-Presidential candidate to appear on the petition, because at the time, a running mate had not been selected.
Howie Hawkins is a senior advisor to the Jill Stein campaign and has been one of the leaders in the Green Party nationally for over 25 years.
The Illinois Green Party submitted its petition to put Jill Stein on the ballot on June 25 – three weeks before the Green Party national convention, and before it was known who the running mate would be. So when the petition was accepted by the Illinois State Board of Elections, Howie Hawkins was officially listed as the Green candidate for Vice-President.
Okay, but, couldn’t Cheri’s name have been put on the ballot anyway?
Under Illinois law, a replacement could have been made, if the following events were to have occurred, in precisely this order:
* Howie Hawkins filed a notarized statement of withdrawal with the State Board of Elections.
* The Illinois Green Party Executive Committee held a meeting to approve putting Cheri Honkala’s name on the ballot.
* Cheri Honkala sent a notarized statement of candidacy to the Illinois Green Party.
* The state party attached the statement of candidacy to a formal resolution and submitted such to the State Board of Elections in Springfield.
And, yes, all of these steps did occur. The final paperwork was overnighted from Chicago to Springfield on September 12.
Unfortunately, the State Board of Elections decided that the paperwork was filed too late, even though none of the ballots had actually been printed.
Couldn’t the paperwork have been filed earlier?
Yes, the paperwork could have been filed earlier. There were problems coordinating the tight sequence of events which had to occur, though – under Illinois law, there are time limits specified for when after a withdrawal is executed the vacancy may be filled, and for how soon after an action of the slating body the paperwork must be submitted – and coordinating this between all of the relevant people, including Cheri who has been constantly out campaigning, proved to be very difficult. When we finally were able to get everything done, the paperwork was duly submitted.
That said, at the time the paperwork was submitted, we believe that the paperwork was absolutely not late and should have been accepted.
Can’t you sue?
You can always sue. You can rarely win. We strongly considered filing a lawsuit and in the end we believed that it was so unlikely that a court would take our side – after all, the courts have shown fairly strong bias against us in recent months – that it did not make sense to put in the time and expense.
This stinks. Is there really nothing that can be done?
The only thing that can be done at this point is to get the word out that any voter intending to vote for Stein/Honkala will instead find Stein/Hawkins on their ballot. This shouldn’t preclude anyone from voting for the Green ticket. Rather, it should be held as indicative of how difficult it is to even run for office in Illinois, and why it is so important for us to have many more people step up and get active in party operations.