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GUEST EDITORIAL: Illinois unfairly suppresses third-party candidates - Heartland Newsfeed

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The following was previously published yesterday by the Belleville News-Democrat editorial board.

Maybe voter suppression isn’t our problem. Maybe it’s candidate suppression.

Do you know who Sam McCann is? How about Grayson “Kash” Jackson?

They are two choices for Illinois governor.

Eric Allie/Illinois Policy Institute cartoon

That may confuse most folks because most folks think the two choices were made March 20. That was the Illinois primary, when billionaire J.B. Pritzker got 45 percent of the vote against five other Democrats and billionaire Bruce Rauner eked out a win over Republican state Rep. Jeanne Ives by a 2.8 percent margin.

The two major party candidates are now locked in a battle of electronic advertising bucks, with predictions that they will spend between $250 million and $300 million. If true, they could set a record for the nation’s most expensive governor’s race, a title now held by the $280-million, 2010 California governor’s race.

So what about those other two? They got on the ballot after exhibiting some track and field prowess.

The major party governor candidates only needed 5,000 signatures from registered voters to get on the ballot. Third-party folks needed 25,000. Plus their window to collect those signatures didn’t start until a week after the primary and ran until Monday’s filing deadline.

Jackson is the Libertarian Party of Illinois candidate. Think taxation as a crime, but they’ll settle for smaller government and greater personal liberty. He collected 47,700 signatures, or nearly double the third-party requirement.

McCann is the Conservative Party candidate. Think hacked off at Rauner for taxpayer funding of abortion and other social conservative issues, with a dose of pro-union backing. He collected about 65,000 signatures, or more than two and one-half times what he needed, and was sweating through his shirt as he and his running mate wheeled in the columns of papers.

Both outsiders collected more than needed because the signatures will be challenged. Illinois tosses entire pages of signatures over minor flaws regarding signatures, addresses, petition circulators’ signatures, circulators’ addresses, party affiliation of signers, page numbering, page size, binding and other arcane rules designed to prove a candidate would make an especially fastidious clerk as opposed to whether they are fit to lead the world’s 20th largest economy.

So as we march toward the Nov. 6 election, think about those two plus three other independents you never heard of — William “Doc” Walls III, Gregg Moore and Mary A. Vann-Metcalf, who wants to be both governor and state comptroller.

Democrats across the nation cry about voter suppression, but here in Illinois we actively engage in candidate suppression. Those who clear the hurdles are by definition worth your consideration.

Or you can vote for the billionaire with the best set of TV attack ads.

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