Nader for President, Press Releases: Nader-Camejo Ballot Access in Illinois

For Immediate Release
August 23, 2004

For Further Information
Kevin B. Zeese

Nader-Camejo Sue for Ballot Access in Illinois

Washington, DC: The Independent Presidential Campaign of Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo is litigating ballot access in Illinois in both the state and federal court.

In state court the campaign will be suing to have their names placed on the ballot because of improper interference by state employees in the challenges to Nader-Camejo signatures on ballot access petitions. The suit stems from the use of state employees, contractors and interns who work for Majority Leader Michael Madigan (D-IL) in the review of signatures. Madigan’s office has denied a Freedom of Information Act request seeking pay records that would indicate whether his employees were on the state payroll when they reviewed the signatures.

In federal court, the Nader-Camejo campaign will be filing an appeal to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals seeking an expedited review of a U.S. district court decision denying the campaign’s challenges to the constitutionality of the ballot access law. The Nader-Camejo campaign is claiming that the court used an improper standard of review in allowing the board of elections to strike signatures from the Nader petitions, and that Illinois has an unduly burdensome signature requirement combined with the third earliest deadline in the country.

One of the goals of the Nader-Camejo campaign is to reduce the ballot access burdens on independent and third party candidates so that the voters will be able to have more choices and voices in future presidential campaigns.

For Immediate Release
July 27, 2004

For Further Information
Kevin B. Zeese

Nader Campaign Sues Illinois Challenging Ballot Access Law and Definition of Registered Voter

Washington, DC: The Independent Presidential campaign of Ralph Nader and Peter Miguel Camejo filed suit today challenging the Illinois ballot access law and how the state determines the address of a voter in a presidential campaign.

The Nader-Camejo campaign is challenging the early due date, June 21, of the Illinois ballot access law – the third earliest due date in the country is unconstitutional. On June 21, the Nader-Camejo campaign submitted more than 32,000 signatures. The lawsuit notes that the campaign attempted to submit an additional 5,000 signatures on July 8 but the Election Board refused to accept them. Forty-six states have deadlines in July or later with some as late as September.

The campaign is also challenging the State Board of Elections for striking signatures of voters who are registered to vote, but have moved and signed petitions for ballot access with their current address. The suit alleges that when a signature is found in the voter file with a matched signature on the petition sheet, but the signer is registered at a different address than that address listed on the petition sheet, the objected-to signature is not considered valid for the purposes of a presidential campaign. For the purposes of a presidential campaign however it does not matter where in Illinois a person lives, merely that the person lives in Illinois and is validly registered to vote in Illinois.

The suit seeks an injunction prohibiting defendants as Members of the State Board of Elections from striking the name of Ralph Nader as an independent candidate for President of the United States from appearing on the General Election ballot and prohibiting the State Board of Elections from rejecting the additional signatures collected after the due date.

“The political duopoly has created ballot access laws intentionally designed to limit voter’s choices. Ballot access laws are one reason why out democracy is anemic with a downward decline in eligible voters actually voting,” said Nader. “Voters need more voices and choices, not  less.”