With the 2020 elections around the corner, it is time for the Illinois Green Party to prepare for our upcoming Ballot Access Drive.
"What is ballot access," you may ask, as the mainstream parties do not have to deal with ballot access in order to run candidates. While the Republicans and Democratic Party candidates always appear on the ballot, third party and independent candidates must petition to appear on the ballot in the general election, similar to how Republicans and Democrats do for their primaries. The major difference is the number of signatures required to run for office. For statewide races (President, Governor, US Senate), third parties and independent candidates must collect a much higher number of signatures than the Republicans and Democrats, 25,000 as compared to 5,000 for the duopoly candidates. For these top of the ticket races, Illinois sees some of the worst ballot access repression in the country, especially given that we face a 90 day "sprint," but we have overcome this open, anti-democratic repression in the past and we will again. Donate, volunteer, find your nearest local chapter and get involved today!
Incredibly, Democrats and Republicans, who write the Illinois election laws, require that Green Party Presidential candidates have to expend 4,500 more volunteer hours to get on the ballot in Illinois than the Democratic or Republican candidates!
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.
These unjust election laws result in the Green Party Presidential candidates having to raise and spend $45,000 - $135,000 more in donations to get on the ballot in Illinois than the Democratic or Republican candidates!
Because signatures must be valid to survive a challenge, the general rule of thumb is that we need to collect double the required signatures, meaning we must collect 50,000 signatures in 90 days to simply be included on the ballot.
But ballot access inequality does not only impact the top of the ticket races, it makes it harder for Greens and independents to run in partisan races at every level. This is at it worst at the level of US House. In the IL-14, the north and west suburbs of Chicago, the Republicans and Democrats have to collect 961 and 758, respectively. In the same district, third parties and independents must collect 15,019 signatures, between 15 and 19 times what the Democrats and Republicans have to collect. This repression of voices outside our two party tyranny undermines voter choice and the very core of our democratic values.
But we can do this! We learned a lot from our last few petition drives and we are planning far ahead of the drive's start in the spring of 2020. It's a big task, but with the help of people like you we can give the people of Illinois a true progressive choice in 2020! It takes people power to overcome the two-party oligarchy and the repression we face, but if we do not fight for change outside the same parties of misleadership that led us to crisis, who will? Donate, volunteer, find your nearest local chapter and get involved today!
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Collect Petitions - We need volunteer petitioners to help us meet our goal of 50,000. Whether 1 or 1,000 every little bit helps. Sign up to help petition today!
- Be A Regional, County, or City Coordinator - We need people to help organize and gather petitions from our petitioners.
- Donate - Your donation will help pay our ballot access coordinator and regional leads, for paid petitioners, and for data entry and logistical work related to the drive.
- Fundraising - Don't have a lot to donate yourself? Help us by phone banking or organizing fundraising campaigns or house parties.
- Share our posts and emails - Help us spread the word and get the Green on the ballot!
- Join our media team - Help us spread the word about our drive through traditional and social media.
- Are you a notary? All of our petition sheets must be notarized and we will need notaries from around the state to help us process our petitions.
- Data Entry - We try to confirm as many of our signatures as valid as we can, in order to have an accurate count throughout the drive. To do this we need people to input and work with data in support of our recording and collecting efforts.
- Legal Support - Whether during the preparation of the petition, the challenge phase, or bringing a lawsuit against the State of Illinois' repressive ballot access law, we often need the support of people from the legal field.
- IT Support - If our ballot petition is challenged we will need IT support to make the state voter rolls accessible for petition signature name and address matching.
WHAT ARE DONATIONS USED FOR?
- Paying for a Ballot Access Coordinator to plan and oversee the execution of the drive.
- Volunteer Trainings (If you would like to help collect petitions, you can sign up here.)
- Paying petitioners to collect petitions. (While we plan on collecting as many petitions as possible with volunteers, due to the short petitioning window, paid petitioners are part of a larger strategy. If you would like to be a paid petitioners, fill out the application here.)
- Miscellaneous Expenses - Travel, Tabling Costs, Materials, Legal Costs, Statewide Voter Roll Fees.