Illinois Green Party candidate files suit against election board

A 2012 congressional candidate and the Illinois Green Party have filed a lawsuit against the Illinois State Board of Elections in an attempt to lower ballot access bars for Green candidates in numerous districts across the state.

Laurel Schmidt, a congressional candidate for the third district in Illinois, filed suit against the board, charging it was incorrect in determining the Green Party does not retain “established party status” in areas of Illinois where Green Party candidates exceeded 5 percent of the vote in 2010, according to a release.

Four congressional candidates and six legislative candidates reached that level, including Schmidt, whose 10,028 votes in the old third congressional district earned her just over 6 percent of the vote in 2010.

The board argued that because the old districts no longer exist due to redistricting, the 5 percent rule does not apply in the new districts.

“Laurel’s situation demonstrates the absurdity of the board’s position,” said Phil Huckelberry, Illinois Green Party Chair in the release.

As an established party candidate, Schmidt would need to submit a petition in December with valid signatures from 600 registered voters in the district and would then be on the March primary ballot.

Non-established candidates would have to file 5,000 signatures in June.

“The advantages for established party candidates are substantial,” said Huckelberry in the release. “Forums and debates are often set up by June, and a number of organizations will have already issued endorsements based on who is already on the ballot.”

Schmidt said that people of the third district deserve a choice.

“As the first Green in Congress I will work for and be a voice for peace, people, and planet over short-term profits. The two-party system and its control by corporate cash is destroying the 99 percent — that’s us,” she said in the release.

Schmidt is not the only candidate who will be affected by the ruling, Huckelberry said.

“We have interested people who are looking for some resolution on this issue before jumping in,” he said.