ALERT: Widespread Voter Suppression throughout Illinois

Green Party and other third party voters across Illinois have their vote suppressed for this 2020 Primary Election. Once again, when third party voters arrive at their polling place they will not be able to choose a ballot for their party. If there are no referendum questions, there will not even be a non-partisan ballot available to them.

Ever wonder why that is? Let's take the Green Party's 2020 Presidential race as an example.

Due to the most unfair voter suppression laws in the country passed jointly by the Illinois Democratic and Republican Party controlled Illinois legislature to suppress the vote of third party and independent voters, the Illinois Green Party needs 50,000 signatures statewide for our Presidential candidate just to get on the November ballot. As a result of this blatant abuse of power by the Two Party Tyranny, the law only requires Democratic and Republican Party candidates to get a maximum of 5,000 signatures. Yes you read that right. That's 45,000 less signatures needed by the corporate controlled candidate!

How do these undemocratic signature requirement disparities impact the “non-established” third party candidate?  In normal times, when the country is not experiencing a national emergency due to a pandemic, it takes about one hour of a volunteer’s time to collect 10 signatures, so collecting 5,000 signatures requires about 500 volunteer hours whereas collecting 50,000 signatures requires about 5,000 volunteer hours.

This results in the Green Party Presidential campaign having to work 4,500 more hours than the corporate party campaign to get on the ballot when we are not experiencing a pandemic! Under this pandemic, the reader must appreciate the impossibility of dealing with these grossly unfair requirements.

The reason we need 50,000 signatures is because if we only turn in the minimum number of signatures (25,000) the Democratic Party will file an objection to our ballot petition filing and hire lawyers, paid for by their wealthy donors, to attempt to throw us off the ballot.

This extremely undemocratic signature requirement disparity is also imposed on independent candidates.

Alternatively political parties sometimes pay petitioners to collect signatures for one to three dollars per signature. Since the Green Party does not accept big money special interest campaign contributions, it’s very difficult to raise the $50,000-$150,000 it would take to pay petitioners for a Presidential race just in Illinois.

And we only have 90 days to collect signatures in snow, rain, or sunshine!

Note that these extremely unfair signature requirement disparities have been passed into law for all partisan offices in Illinois, by the two party tyranny, ranging from ratios of 5 to 1 to sometimes more than 10 to 1. These partisan races range from County Board all the way to President of the United States.

These voter suppression laws are not new. As a result, in Illinois, for many years running, there has been a dearth of candidates, with nearly all Primary Elections uncontested and almost every General Election being uncontested or merely between the two established parties. Since the 2011 redistricting, in the 2012, 2014, and 2016 Primary Elections for State Representative, 82.6%, 87.3%, and 89.4% of the races had no candidate or only one candidate on the ballot. In the 2012, 2014, and 2016 General Elections for State Representative, 58.5%, 63.6%, and 59.3% were uncontested. In only 1 of those 354 elections did more than two candidates appear on the ballot–in other words, the ballot was limited to one or both of the two party tyrants in 99.7% of the elections.

And it gets worse.

For a third party to be allowed in the Illinois Primary Election and have the same signature requirements for their candidates as the two party tyranny, their party would need to have received at least 5% of the vote in the last General Election for that same office.

If a third party or independent candidate manages to get past these incredible barriers and get on the ballot, it is extremely difficult to get 5% of the vote, due to the lack of the following reforms:

  • - Publicly financed elections (to get big money special interests out of our elections)
  • - Ranked Choice Voting (to eliminate the "spoiler effect" and let people vote their hopes without fear)
  • - Inclusion of all candidates on the ballot in debates and media coverage
  • - Fairly drawn district maps (so voters choose their candidate rather than incumbents choosing their voters)
  • - Paper ballots and hand counts (so we can trust the election results)
  • - Including election judges from all parties on the ballot (the two party tyrants have passed abusively undemocratic laws that only allow their party members to be election judges)

Inflicting these unfair requirements that are extremely difficult to overcome and often result in third party candidates being kept off both the Primary Election ballot and the General Election ballot is the ultimate form of third party voter suppression.

We fought a revolutionary war to be free of a tyrant and to end taxation without representation.  We now find that we have traded the old tyrant for two new tyrants, and for the vast majority of us who do not agree with either corporate parties’ platforms, we continue to suffer taxation without representation.

But, don’t demoralize…Organize!

There are many ways to join the struggle to push for these reforms, including:

  • - Voting Green when the Greens are on the ballot in Illinois in the even year General Elections and odd year Consolidated Elections. For example, since 2011 the DuPage County Green Party has won 7 out of the 8 campaigns (88%) they ran for local non-partisan offices!
  • - Volunteering for and donating to Illinois Green Party candidates in “established” districts such as in the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (Cook County) and Jackson County District 4 (Carbondale area) and “non-established” districts such as the 2020 Presidential race (statewide). Here’s a list of Green Party candidates.
  • - Supporting the Illinois Green Party by getting involved and becoming a dues paying member.
  • - Contacting your Illinois House Representative and demand that they pass the Equal Ballot Access bill (HB3828).
  • - Joining Move to Amend to get big money special interests out of our elections and end corporate rule. Also by contacting your US House Representative and demand that they pass the We The People Amendment (HJR48).
  • - Contacting your Illinois Senate and House Representative and demand that they pass the Ranked Choice Voting bill (SB2267/HB5585).

Howie Hawkins Wins Illinois Green Party Presidential Selection Vote

Green Party Presidential Candidate Howie Hawkins has won the 2020 Illinois Green Party Presidential Selection Vote!  From Syracuse, New York, Hawkins, a retired Teamster, is a founding member of the Green Party in the United States, having attended the first national meeting in 1984, and was the first person in the US to run on a "Green New Deal" in 2010.  Hawkins has ran for office many times in his life and his runs for governor in New York have maintained the Green Party of New York's ballot line for over a decade. 

Hawkins received 73% of the vote in the ILGP's online vote, which took place from Saturday, February 29 through Saturday, March 14, 2020. 

Read more

Report and Recommendations of the Illinois Green Party on the Disruptive Conduct of Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza Curry and Chad Wilson

Report and Recommendations of the Illinois Green Party on the Disruptive Conduct of Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza Curry and Chad Wilson

Last Fall, the Executive Committee and the Coordinating Committee of the Illinois Green Party, as the duly authorized bodies of the party, jointly made a decision to host a presidential forum at its Spring Convention, to be held in Chicago on February 29, 2020. The proposal adopted was to extend an invitation to all presidential candidates who were duly recognized as such by the Green Party of the United States. At the time, Howie Hawkins and Dario Hunter met that criteria and invitations were extended to them to participate in our forum. A few weeks later, candidate David Rolde also satisfied that criteria and an invitation was extended to him as well.

We had learned that the Green Party of Ohio was also holding a presidential forum that day, so we intentionally scheduled our forum for 6 p.m., to allow sufficient time for candidates to make the trip to Chicago. When 6 p.m. arrived, candidate Hawkins was the only candidate present. After delaying the forum until about 6:10 to make allowances for late arrivals, we began the forum with candidate Hawkins present.

At approximately 6:30 p.m., Sedinam Kinamo Christin Moyowasifza Curry and an individual who identified himself as Chad Wilson arrived. They were welcomed into the forum, which was open to the general public. After briefly sitting in the audience as Hawkins was finishing an answer, Curry and Wilson arose, walked to the front of the room, took seats at the front table reserved for forum participants, announced that they were also presidential candidates, and Ms. Curry began to give a statement.

Illinois Green Party Co-Chair Rich Whitney immediately objected, stating that Curry and Wilson had not been invited to the forum, would not be permitted to participate, and asked them to cease and return to their seats in the audience. Curry and Wilson refused and began making a number of accusations leveled at Hawkins and the Green Party’s presidential selection process, including accusations comparing the party leadership to the DNC, and claiming that Hawkins was not a “legal” candidate. Ms. Curry’s also engaged in her now standard modus operandi of accusing the party of disfavoring her because of race. 

Many others in the audience, including current ILGP officers and former chair Zerlina Smith, joined the demand that Curry and Wilson cease disrupting the forum and respect the decision of the ILGP to invite only GP-US-recognized candidates to participate in the presidential forum. It was evident that no one in the audience approved of Curry and Wilson’s disruption, and the forum briefly degenerated into a shouting match. Rita Maniotis, chair of the Cook County Green Party, the host local, offered to allow Curry and Wilson to each make a statement at 7:15, when the forum was scheduled to close, but the offer was refused and the two continued to insist that they participate in the forum. Wilson attempted to bait Maniotis into saying that she was about to call the police but Maniotis made clear that she would do no such thing, as the assembled Greens were not about to involve law enforcement in this matter.

Forum Moderator AJ Reed then proposed to the audience that they simply conclude the forum, since the ILGP had not invited Curry and Wilson to participate and did not approve of giving them a platform at its event. The assembled members of the party and general public unanimously approved the proposal and the forum was concluded. Hunter and Rolde arrived shortly thereafter, and ILGP officers had to explain to them that the forum was ended due to the disruption of Curry and Wilson.

In sum, because Greens are nonviolent and understand the oppressive role of the police, Curry and Wilson were able to successfully sabotage the forum. We made the mistake of not barring them from the event in the first instance, a mistake that will not be repeated. Curry and Wilson thoroughly disrespected the democratic process and decision-making of the Illinois Green Party, disrespected the clearly expressed wishes of those present and revealed themselves as de facto enemies of the Green Party.  Whether they are or are not agent provocateurs, they behaved in that fashion, disrupting and destroying a party function.

It is our understanding that a similar disruption occurred at the meeting of the Ohio Green Party, and we invite our sister state party to speak for itself on that matter. At any rate, the disruption of the ILGP’s presidential forum is part of a broader pattern of misconduct, at least on Ms. Curry’s part, including but not limited to her disruptive and publicly embarrassing conduct at the 2016 Annual National Meeting.

By proclaiming herself a Green and a Green candidate, and associating our party with her antics, Ms. Curry, along with her newfound ally, have chosen to act as enemies of the Green Party, and they have objectively caused injury, not only to the Illinois Green Party but to other state parties and the national party.

We issue this report in order to warn the leadership of other state parties and strongly recommend that they take appropriate steps to physically ban SKCM Curry and Chad Wilson from party-sponsored public fora, debates and other events. We call upon the Annual National Meeting Committee and the Presidential Candidate Support Committee, and, if necessary the Steering Committee of the GP-US, to take all necessary action to ban, and physically bar, Curry and Wilson, from attending the proceedings of the 2020 Annual National Meeting in Detroit and entering the facilities that the party has rented and paid for. If necessary, we will prepare a formal resolution to that effect, but we believe that these governing bodies already possess the authority to enact such common-sense measures.

Any organization or association has a fundamental right to determine who is, and who is not, a member of that organization. Any organization or association has a fundamental right to decide the terms and conditions of participation in its events and activities. These are basic principles of organizational autonomy and integrity.

We cannot prevent Curry, Wilson or anyone else from calling themselves “Greens” or Green candidates. But we do not have to recognize them as such and we do not have to tolerate them doing so at events that we sponsor and organize, with our time, labor and money. We have been overly tolerant in allowing persons who conduct themselves this way to impede the important mission and work of our party. It is time to say, “enough is enough” and put a stop to it. These individuals are not Greens and they are not our friends. By their actions, they have demonstrated this, and made themselves persona non grata. As a basic matter of protecting the integrity and reputation of our party, it is time for the Green Party to non-violently defend itself from those who are intent upon injuring our organization.

In Solidarity,

On Behalf of the Illinois Green Party Coordinating Committee