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Illinois: 7th Circuit strikes down ballot access law restricting independent candidates

The Chicago Tribune reports: In a decision that could increase the number of candidates who seek state office, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled Monday that state election law unconstitutionally restricts independent candidates and must be changed.

Taking up the case of a Heyworth man who sued the Illinois State Board of Elections in 2004, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the General Assembly must create "a new ballot-access scheme that will pass constitutional muster." ...

The appeals court did not suggest any new laws but ruled two key requirements that independent candidates must meet are far too restrictive and violate the Constitution.

The first, that independent candidates file for ballot access in mid-December or nearly a year before a general election, "is by far the earliest deadline in the nation," the ruling stated. ...

Illinois' second requirement forces prospective independent candidates to gather signatures totaling 10 percent of all votes cast in the previous election for the office they seek. -- U.S. court voids vote law on independents | Chicago Tribune

Comment: The case is Lee v. Keith. The decision can be viewed here.

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