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Illinois’s Ballot Access Requirements for a New Party

Robert Timothy Reagan, Margaret S. Williams, Marie Leary, Catherine R. Borden, Jessica L. Snowden, Patricia D. Breen, Jason A. Cantone
April 3, 2018
Available Online Only

Summers v. Smart (John J. Tharp, Jr., and John Robert Blakey, N.D. Ill. 1:14-cv-5398) and Tripp v. Smart (Michael J. Reagan, S.D. Ill. 3:14-cv-890)
After failing to obtain enough signatures to appear on the 2014 general election ballot, a minor party filed a federal complaint in the Northern District of Illinois challenging ballot signature requirements for new parties. The district judge denied the party immediate relief, because the party had met the constitutionally suspect criteria. A district judge similarly denied immediate relief in a Southern District case. A new judge in the Northern District later dismissed the case there as precluded by an earlier result in state court. The federal court of appeals later concluded that the ballot access requirements were constitutional.
Subject: Getting on the ballot. Topics: Getting on the ballot; laches; recusal; case assignment; matters for state courts.

One of many Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation.