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ILGP Ballot Access Drive Begins

ILLINOIS GREEN PARTY 

PETITION DRIVE BEGINS TODAY

But Greens Demand Emergency Relief Due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Wheaton, Illinois (March 24, 2020). The Illinois Green Party (ILGP)  has placed its presidential candidate on the statewide election ballot in every presidential year since 2008, with over 117,000 Illinois voters choosing Green Party Senate candidate Scott Summers in 2016. Yet oppressive ballot access laws in Illinois -- among the worst in the nation -- repeatedly force the Greens to collect tens of thousands of petition signatures from registered voters in each election cycle just to get their candidates’ names on the ballot. 

For the statewide general election ballot, these laws require Green petitioners to gather 25,000 petition signatures from registered voters – and to collect those signatures in just 90 days (March 24th through June 22nd). In practice, this requires petitioners to collect over 50,000 signatures, in order to safely survive legal challenges. Democratic and Republican presidential candidates only needed 3,000 signatures, with petitioning taking place last Fall. 

Even under normal conditions, such a petition drive requires Herculean effort. Now, however, due to restrictions on public gatherings, “social distancing,” stay-at-home requirements and other essential public health measures, normal petitioning has been rendered impossible. The ILGP plans to follow best practices during the COVID-19 public health crisis and will adhere to governmental restrictions.

“Even where public encounters still occur, we cannot ask petitioners to risk their health by approaching strangers to get their signature, nor can we ask people to come within close physical proximity of our petitioners,” said ILGP co-chair Rich Whitney. “We strongly support emergency public-health measures. Defeating the pandemic is priority number one. But these measures also make the petitioning requirements of the Election Code even more patently unfair than they already were. Even the ridiculous requirement that circulators must have each of the 5,000 petition sheets notarized now poses highly problematic health risks.”  

 Accordingly, last week, the ILGP sent letters to Governor Pritzker, legislative leaders, and the State Board of Elections requesting that the petitioning requirement be waived or suspended for the current election cycle for ILGP candidates, due to the current public health crisis. As of this writing, the Governor has not responded to the letter.
 Without such relief, the ILGP is forced to start the petitioning process today, but under conditions that virtually limit “petitioning” to members of the same household. Illinois law does not provide for on-line petitioning or any substitute for voters signing a hard-copy petition that is handed to them by a petitioner. 
 

The Illinois Green Party is a political party that stands for economic, social, racial, environmental, and democratic justice for all of the people of Illinois. Neither the Green Party or their candidates for political office accept corporate contributions. For more information, please visit www.ilgp.org.

Letter to Governor Pritzker Regarding Ballot Access and COVID-19

Dear Governor Pritzker, President Harmon, Speaker Madigan, and Director Sandvoss,

For months, the Green Party has been preparing for the start of the petitioning period applicable to “new” political parties, which begins on March 24, 2020, and ends on June 22, 2020. The Illinois Green Party has held its nominating convention and has nominated Green Party candidates for the 2020 Illinois statewide ballot. (Under the Election Code, the Green Party was not eligible to participate in the state's Primary Election this year for statewide offices.)

The Green Party has successfully completed Illinois statewide petition drives in the recent past (including 2012 and 2016), and we are confident that, without the recent turn of events involving COVID-19, we would have successfully completed the petition drive this year as well.

According to current state law, a new political party must file 25,000 valid petition signatures to get ballot access for this year's Illinois statewide General Election ballot.  Experience teaches us (and other electoral candidates) that it is wise to gather twice the number of required signatures, in order to account for problems with voter registrations. Given past response rates, this would translate into well over half a million public contacts.

However, because of the COVID-19 outbreak and the Governor's responsive Executive Orders, as well as the national state of emergency, local restrictions, and related health-care protocols regarding social distancing, the Green Party's ability to obtain the necessary signatures here in Illinois this year has been essentially nullified. We acknowledge that the actions taken to limit gatherings and ensure social distancing are appropriate for containing and controlling the virus, but they also make it literally impossible for the candidates of minority political parties, as well as independent candidates, to be placed on the general election ballot.

Current circumstances make petitioning extraordinarily difficult, if not impossible, for the party and its candidates, as well as make it risky, health-wise, for the petitioners and the potential signers. 

Any efforts at gathering enough signatures for the statewide ballot depend on face-to-face contact with as many potential petition signers as possible, and large crowds—now banned by law—normally provide the primary source for signers. Even where registered voters may be found in smaller gatherings, or may be passing by on a sidewalk, current health-care protocols advising that a distance of at least six feet be maintained between unfamiliar persons make petitioning all but impossible.

Moreover, few people remaining in the security of their homes are likely to open their doors to petitioners in this environment, let alone agree to have a close conversation and handle a clipboard and pen being handed to them by a stranger. Likewise, most prospective petitioners, including the many volunteers who have assisted us in the past, are understandably going to be reluctant to handle a clipboard and pen that has passed through the hands, and within close proximity of the nose and mouth, of large numbers of unknown persons.

Accordingly, we respectfully request that the Governor, General Assembly, and the Board of Elections take account of these radically changed circumstances and take immediate emergency action to honor the right of our political party and its candidates for President, Vice President, and U.S. Senate to appear on the general election ballot.

We ask that the petition signature requirement for the statewide ballot be waived or suspended for the current election cycle for the Illinois Green Party’s statewide candidates. We understand that the Libertarian Party of Illinois may be making a similar request and we would be supportive of that party being granted a waiver as well.

We would also ask for similar relief for Green Party candidates planning to petition to attain ballot status in county-level races in Jackson County, Illinois.

We can be contacted expeditiously at chair@ilgp.org. Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.

Sincerely,

 

Rich Whitney

Sheldon Schaefer

Co-Chairs, Illinois Green Party

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. 

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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

2020 Presidential Vote

The 2020 Illinois Green Party Presidential Selection Process will run from February 29, 2020 through March 14, 2020.  ILGP Members can vote in person at our 2020 Spring Convention in Chicago on February 29 or online throughout the entire voting period. The vote will determine the proportional allotment of ILGP Delegates to the Green Party of the United States Presidential Nominating Convention in Detroit.

You can learn more about the recognized 2020 Green Party Presidential Candidates at https://www.ilgp.org/2020_presidential.

In order to vote in the 2020 ILGP Presidential Selection Process, you must be an Illinois resident and a dues paying member of the ILGP and not vote in the primary of any other party in Illinois.  Click HERE to pay your dues.  If you have any questions or need to know if you are up to date on your dues email secretary@ilgp.org.

CLICK HERE TO VOTE

WANTED: Ballot Access Coordinator

Image result for Help Wanted

The Illinois Green Party is currently seeking a Ballot Access Coordinator to lead our 2020 Ballot Access Drive to get our presidential and U.S. Senate candidates on the November ballot. This is projected to be a PAID half-time (20 hour per week) position.

If interested see the skills and duties below and contact the ILGP at secretary@ilgp.org.

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ILGP to Host 2020 Green Presidential Candidates Forum

The Illinois Green Party will be hosting a Green Party Presidential Candidates forum as part of its 2020 Spring Convention in Chicago on Saturday, February 29, 2020.  The forum will feature Green Party US Recognized Candidates Howie Hawkins, Dario Hunter, and David Rolde.  More information about the candidates can be found here.

The Presidential Forum will be at 6:00 pm and will be preceded by a social hour from 5:00 to 6:00.  Following the Forum, the ILGP will be hosting our biannual Fundraiser Dinner and silent auction.

Proposed Bylaw Changes to be Considered by the Membership at Upcoming Membership Convention

The following Bylaws Revisions are being proposed to the ILGP membership at our upcoming convention on Saturday, February 29, 2020 in Chicago, IL.  In addition to some housekeeping or formatting edits, the intended purpose of these bylaws revisions is to change the structure of the ILGP administrative bodies to empower the Coordinating Committee as the primary decision making body of the ILGP between membership meeting.  These changes also impact the make up and duties of the Executive Committee. 

A summary and pdf of proposed Bylaws changes can be found below.

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ILGP 2020 Spring Convention

The ILGP 2020 Spring Convention and membership meeting will take place on Saturday, February 29, 2020 at the Third Unitarian Church, 301 N. Mayfield, Chicago, Illinois.

We should have a pretty full agenda, as we discuss petition planning and strategizing for campaign 2020, election of officers, amendments to our by-laws, possible selection of a U.S. Senate candidate, selection process for our presidential ticket – and more. We expect to cap things off late afternoon/early evening with a forum for recognized Green Party presidential candidates, and an evening social and dinner. Please mark your calendars now, and plan on joining us that day.

The finalized agenda will be released as soon as possible.

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