The Libertarian Party of Illinois (LP Illinois) Board of Directors unanimously passed a resolution supporting Illinois House Bill 2398 at its monthly board meeting Tuesday. HB 2398 would change election law in Illinois to put so-called “new party” candidates and independent candidates on a level playing field with Democrats and Republicans in regards to ballot access.

Currently, statewide candidates for the Libertarian Party in Illinois need five times the number of signatures (25,000) a Democrat or Republican is required to gather (5,000). Realistically, Libertarian candidates need close to double that number of signatures, because even with 25,000 signees, the old parties will spend money on lawyers to try and remove Libertarians from the ballot.

HB 2398 would not just affect statewide race, but also Congressional, Legislative, county, and township races in Illinois, allowing Libertarians to run more candidates and make elections more competitive throughout Illinois. Typically, the signature threshold discrepancy for these other races is even larger than that of statewide races.

“I’m excited about this bill,” said Steve Suess, LP Illinois Chair. “We have been fighting for equal ballot access through both legal and legislative means for decades. Illinois has some of the worst ballot access laws in the country, and our state is well overdue for reform.”

The entire resolution, as passed unanimously by the Libertarian Party of Illinois Board of Directors, is below.

Whereas, Illinois House Bill 2398 would amend the Election Code and change signature requirements for new political parties and independent candidates so the amounts are equal to those required for established political parties, irrespective of party affiliation;

Whereas, the current Election Code requires a significantly higher number of petition signatures for candidates representing “new parties” and independent candidates compared to competitor candidates from “established parties”;

Whereas, the current Election Code facilitates a political environment that limits competition;

Whereas, only 54% of Illinois House races were contested and only 50% of Illinois Senate races were contested in the 2020 General Election;

Whereas, the current Election Code establishes an unfair advantage to two private organizations that hold all of the political power in Illinois: the Democratic Party of Illinois and the Illinois Republican Party;

Whereas, the current Election Code establishes an unfair disadvantage to Illinoisans attempting to perform their constitutional right to petition their government who do not and will not subscribe to or endorse the platforms, voting history, campaign practices, or political goals of the Democratic Party of Illinois or the Illinois Republican Party;

Whereas, the Libertarian Party platform states “We support election systems that are more representative of the electorate at the federal, state, and local levels”;

Whereas, the Libertarian Party of Illinois has supported several multi-partisan bills in previous General Assembly sessions and continues to push for sensible election reforms in Illinois that address ballot access inequality and burdensome and outdated petitioning requirements; 

Therefore, be it resolved, the Libertarian Party of Illinois endorses Illinois House Bill 2398, a bill to implement equal ballot access petition signature requirements in Illinois elections regardless of party affiliation and encourages party members and all voters to contact their State Representatives to request their support and sponsorship of this bill.

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