On December 17, the Illinois Green Party, and its nominee for U.S. House, 2nd district, in the upcoming April 2013 special election, filed a lawsuit against the ballot access requirements for non-qualified parties and independent candidates.
The bill, setting the date for the special election, was signed on December 3, 2012, so theoretically the Green Party was free on the following day to start collecting signatures. The law demands 15,682 valid signatures by February 4. The signatures are due even before the special primary (the Green Party, of course, would not be involved with the primary; the primary is only for Republicans and Democrats).
The Green Party did nominate a candidate on December 4. He is LeAlan Jones. He had been the Green Party nominee for U.S. Senate in November 2010, and had polled 3.65% in the special U.S. Senate election, 129,571 votes. In the regular 2010 U.S. Senate election he had polled 3.18%, or 117,914 votes.
The Fourth, Tenth and Eleventh Circuits have previously ruled that when the normal length of time for petitioning is not available, states must either reduce the number of signatures proportionate to the amount of time lost, or else extend the deadline. The normal petitioning period in Illinois is 90 days, but in this special election, only 62 days are allowed, so at a minimum the state ought to either shrink the petition requirement to approximately two-thirds of what it would be otherwise, or else extend the deadline. There is no practical reason why the signatures are due before the primary. The new lawsuit is Jones v McGuffage, northern district, 12-cv-9997.
On December 21, independent candidate Marcus Lewis filed papers, seeking to intervene in the case on the side of the Green Party. Lewis was on the ballot as an independent for the 2nd district race in November 2012. He polled 13.44% of the vote (he had needed 5,000 signatures to get on the ballot for that election). He wants to run in the upcoming special election. Ironically, if he had formed a new party for the November 2012 election, instead of running as an independent candidate, he would now have an extremely easy route on to the special election ballot in April; his 13.44% share of the vote would have created a new ballot-qualified party just in the 2nd district.