SPRINGFIELD (Illinois News Network) — The 2018 election ballots in Illinois could look different after a judge ruled in favor of removing a law that critics say is protectionism.

In Illinois, a partisan local election will have established parties and non-established challengers. If the Libertarian or Democratic Socialist Parties want to run a candidate for office, they must find others willing to run for all other offices as well. This is called the “full slate” law, and a federal appellate court ruled in September that the law violates a citizen’s free speech rights.

“It’s patently unfair for the people who don’t want to be challenged to make us jump through hoops,” Libertarian Party Chairman Lex Green said. “It’s the right of the voters to have valid choices and not just arbitrary choices from those that are in power in Springfield.”

The complaint stems from a Libertarian Party candidate being kicked off of a ballot for coroner in suburban Lake County. The state would not allow the candidate to be listed on the ballot without other Libertarians challenging for the other county offices.

“It results in us running candidates that we have little interest in,” he said.

Ironically, the supporters of the full slate provision say that’s what would happen without the law.

Full slate laws, Green added, result in many local Republicans and Democrats running unopposed. This is exacerbated by the drawing of partisan maps to maximize the favorable votes in a district. It’s a practice known as gerrymandering.

Under the full slate rules, a party that garners more than 5 percent of the total votes in an election is then “established” and may run in subsequent elections without having to adhere to the full slate rule.

State officials could appeal the decision to the Supreme Court but said they’re not likely to.

The Center Square -- formerly known as Watchdog.org and the Illinois News Network -- and their reporters represent 18 states across the United States as the taxpayers' watchdog, exposing the way government really works.

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