The Illinois Green Party (ILGP) has been critical of the attempt by the Illinois legislature to pass House Bill 723, which would make it more difficult to ìslateî candidates on the general election ballot. Dubbed by Greens the ìProtect Incumbents Actî the proposed law would require a party to petition for signatures, equal to the amount required to appear on a primary ballot, within 45 days of the general election in order for the candidate to be on the ballot.
The other two parties had no problems with slating, previous to 2006, when ILGP attained major party status in the state after its gubernatorial candidate, Rich Whitney, received 10 percent of the vote. Quite simply, a party, which doesnít conduct a primary, is allowed to directly place or ìslateî a candidate on the general election ballot. Said Illinois Green Party Chair Phil Huckelberry, “We didn’t invent slating,” said†Huckelberry, “but once we began to use slating to challenge entrenched incumbents, the legislature moved quickly to essentially take it away.”
Huckelberry has written an analysis on incumbency and the lack of competitive electoral races in Illinois. In it he notes that in the last four elections 46.3 percent of Illinois House and Senate General Election races were uncontested. Placing more requirements on the ability to slate candidates would only increase the rate of non-competitive elections, leading to less accountability of elected officials.
While the bill has passed in the Democratic-controlled House and has been endorsed by Democratic Governor Pat Quinn, it still has to be approved by the Senate. Jeremy Karpen, candidate for State Representative, 39th District, said, ìBy stifling competition and shutting voters out of the process, Democrats continue to prove that they don’t deserve power. The more voters find out about the Green Party, the more they stand with us.î
Huckelberry’s paper, “Incumbency, Competitiveness, and Slating in Illinois General Assembly Elections,” is available on the Illinois Green Party’s website.