Judge Nixes State’s Full-Slate Mandate

Illinois is trampling on the U.S. Constitution by excluding “new” political parties from the ballot unless they run a full slate of candidates, a federal judge has ruled.

In a written opinion, U.S. District Judge Andrea R. Wood held the Illinois Election Code’s requirement that new parties run candidates for every position on the ballot violates the right to engage in political activity.

The First Amendment, Wood wrote, quoting Clingman v. Beaver, 544 U.S. 581 (2005), “protects the right of citizens to band together in promoting among the electorate candidates who espouse their political views.”

Imposing the full-slate requirement on new political parties but not on their established counterparts also violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection, Wood held.

An established political party is one that received more than 5 percent of the vote within the congressional or legislative district or political subdivision in the most recent election.

Wood conceded the state has a legitimate interest in ensuring that a political party has sufficient support to be identified as a party.

Read the full story from the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin here.