(The Center Square) – Before the November midterm election, Illinois has a closed primary election. Politicians begin petitioning for ballot access Thursday and voters could expect to get a knock at the door.
Thursday starts the petitioning period for the June 28 primary election.
Matt Dietrich with the Illinois State Board of Elections said the total number of signatures Republicans and Democrats seeking office have to get is lower than it has been in the past because of the delayed U.S. Census and subsequent redistricting.
“To compensate for the shortened signature collection period, which is one-third shorter, the General Assembly amended the signature requirements to reduce those by roughly a third,” Dietrich said.
Illinois’ June 28 primary is only for Democrats and Republicans.
“For a primary, you can only sign for one party,” Dietrich said. “So if you sign a Democratic nominating petition, you cannot then sign a Republican nominating petition.”
Such signatures could be disqualified upon a challenge after the filing period which begins March 7.
Voters can sign more than one petition for the same office, like signing several Republican gubernatorial candidates’ nominating petitions.
With the recent redistricting, voters should also learn what state House and Senate, and U.S. House districts they’re in before signing any petition.
“If you are going to sign that, make sure that you are a registered voter in the district that that candidate is collecting signatures for,” Dietrich said.
Non-established parties, like Libertarians, or Green party or independent candidates don’t start circulating ballot access petitions until April 13 with a filing period of July 5. They have to gather three times as many signatures than Republicans and Democrats, as set out in state statute by the General Assembly.
“You’re going directly to the general election ballot, you don’t have to go through the primary, so the hurdle is that much higher,” Dietrich said.
The midterm general election is on Nov. 8.