by Joshua Hellman (Shawnee Green Party)

According to the most recent Gallup poll on the subject, 56% of Americans want a third or more parties. In another series of Gallup polls, Congressional approval often hovers between 10-20%.

There are currently only two parties in Congress, and only three Independents who caucus with one of those two parties.

This disconnect is largely the result of the current First Past the Post nature of our electoral system, as well as exorbitantly high ballot access petition requirements in many states, including Illinois. For comparison, many other countries around the world, such as most European countries, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea, make at least some use of Ranked Choice Voting or Proportional Representation, and thus have more than two parties represented. Even some countries who do use First Past the Post, such as Canada and the UK, also have more than two parties represented due to much fairer ballot access requirements. Canada, for instance, requires 100 signatures to run for a seat in their national parliament. Here in Illinois, the signature requirement for third parties and Independents is around 1,500…for state legislature, while it’s around 15,000 for the House and 25,000 for the Senate!

Originally published in the Southern Illinoisan at