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).