SPRINGFIELD — State election officials gave the green light Thursday to a third party’s push to get on the November ballot.
In a unanimous vote, the state Board of Elections certified that the Illinois Green Party had secured enough valid signatures to join Republicans and Democrats in the Nov. 7 vote.
“I think this is a very rare opportunity for a political party like ours to finally break through that two-party iron curtain and get on the political map in Illinois,” said Rich Whitney, a Carbondale attorney who is running for governor on the Green ticket.
The decision came after the Green Party’s nominating petitions were challenged by Democrats. The board decided that the party had easily surpassed the 25,000-signature threshold.
Joining Whitney on the Green ticket are: Julie Samuels of Oak Park for lieutenant governor; David Black of Belvidere for attorney general; Karen Young of Chicago for secretary of state; the Rev. Dan Rodriguez-Schlorff of Chicago for treasurer; and Alicia Snyder of Centralia for comptroller.
With the ballot fight behind them, the party now is working to get Whitney on the stage with Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Republican challenger Judy Baar Topinka in upcoming debates.
“I believe that the majority of Illinois voters would prefer to hear all candidates’ points of view represented in the debates,” Whitney said.
In addition to fighting for a spot in the debates, the party also must replenish its coffers after draining much of its campaign account on the ballot fight.
In past elections, third party candidates have not fared well, often finishing in the single digits. A survey of political scientists earlier this week found none expecting the party to have much of an effect on the outcome of the governor’s race.