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IL GP Opposes Electoral Bills

The Illinois Green Party has stated it’s opposition to three bills in General Assembly that would restrict ballot access and choice. HB2673 would bring back straight-ticket voting, HB5263 would effectively eliminate a party’s ability to slate candidates for the general election, and HB5505 would make it more difficult to add referendums at the annual township meeting. Both HB5263 and HB5505 have already passed the Illinois House.

“These bills would move us in the wrong direction and only benefit those currently in power. We should be expanding democracy and choice, not limiting it,” said Phil Huckelberry, Chair of the ILGP Government and Elections Committee.

“Straight-ticket voting is a move backwards towards machine politics,” said Tim Quirk, of Chicago, candidate for state representative, 12th district. “It removes the requirement for voters to think about each individual race before voting. Although it may help the dominant party in the short-run, it’s short-sighted and will not benefit voters. We made the right move in eliminating it years ago, and it would be a mistake to turn back the clock.”

HB5263 nearly eliminates the power of parties to slate candidates by requiring candidates endorsed after the primary to collect as many signatures as an independent, which is several times higher than the number required for established party primary candidates.

“Slating gives political parties flexibility once primaries are over. But it also gives voters choices in the general election. This bill is a step in the wrong direction–away from participatory democracy,” said Kevin O’Connor, of LaGrange Park, candidate for the state representative, 41st district. “It will reduce competition and increase the number of uncontested races, especially in areas like Chicago and DuPage, where ballot access is especially tough and Republicans, Democrats and Greens all heavily rely on slating.”

The Illinois Green Party also supports reducing petition requirements for independents and new parties, which are all parties besides the Greens, Republicans, and Democrats.

In 2006, Rich Whitney, the Green Party’s candidate for Illinois governor, alerted Greens and peace groups to the ability to add non-binding referendums at the annual township meeting. Since then, several organizations have successfully added advisory referendums regarding peace and justice issues to their ballots. HB5505 would eliminate the ability for items to be added to the agenda during the township meetings, instead requiring the township board, often composed of members of the city council, to approve agenda items.

“We oppose the attempts to destroy one of the greatest vestiges of a participatory democracy,” said Charlie Howe, of Carbondale, candidate for state representative, 115th district. This bill would require citizens to seek the approval of the township board to add items to the township agenda. Currently, the citizens have the power at the township meeting, but elected officials want to take this power back. This would make it very difficult to add referendums that elected officials oppose, but the people support.”

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