Libertarians Win Complaint Against Cook County ClerkBy Executive Committee
March 7, 2022
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Libertarians Win Complaint Against Cook County Clerk
Judge rules Libertarian Party attained established status
CHICAGO, March 7th, 2022 – Last Friday, the Libertarian Party of Illinois won an important ballot access lawsuit filed against Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough and the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners. The Honorable Robert W. Gettleman ruled that the Libertarian Party attained established party status when its Cook County State’s Attorney candidate Brian Dennehy received more than 5% of the vote in the 2020 general election. This allows Libertarians to run candidates for Cook County Board of Commissioners and Cook County Board of Review in the June 28th, 2022, primary election.
“I applaud the court’s decision to uphold the Constitution and the democratic process we value as Americans,” said District 1 Commissioner candidate James Humay, a plaintiff in the suit. “Clerk Yarborough failed in her attempt to impose restrictive ballot access rules that are designed to keep the Democratic stranglehold in place. It is not just a victory for the Libertarian Party but for the voters of Cook County as well.”
“I’m pleased that the judge gave the Libertarian candidates and the people of Cook County justice,” explained Jason Ross Decker, District 5 Commissioner candidate and also a plaintiff. “I’m bothered that we needed a legal team to defend our rights as potential candidates. I’m upset that the taxpayers will have to pay the bill for the County Clerk attempting to block our attempts to run for county offices. To me, this shows that the political machine is fearful of outsiders taking office. It also appears that they will try to make up their own rules as they go.”
Yarbrough originally maintained that the LP was established for only countywide offices. This prompted Libertarians to file the complaint last January in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division. The complaint asserted that the Cook County Clerk and Board of Election Commissioners willfully violated the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the plaintiffs, who were represented by Andrew Finko.
This is the second time in almost two years that the Libertarian Party of Illinois sued for access to the ballot. In May 2020, they successfully won a case against Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Board of Elections, arguing that COVID-19 measures impeded the ability of new parties to collect signatures. This ruling gave new parties lower signature thresholds for the 2020 election cycle and paved the way for Brian Dennehy’s campaign for Cook County State’s Attorney.
“If Democrats are serious about tackling voter suppression, I sure hope they look at replacing current Cook County election officials,” Libertarian Party of Illinois State Chair Steve Suess said. “I’m beyond excited about what our Chicagoland candidate will accomplish this election cycle.”
“For a party that has been so vocal about fairness and inclusiveness in elections, it’s stunning to see the lengths they will go to prevent anyone outside their party from participating in the political process,” noted Donny Henry, Libertarian Party of Illinois Vice-Chair.
“By trying to keep challengers off the ballot, the Clerk’s office helped insulate incumbents who are often returned to office in uncontested elections, with a prearranged setting to keep it that way,” said Adam Balling, Chair of the Libertarian Party of Chicago. “Once again, local Libertarians prove the machine wrong.”
The Libertarian Party of Chicago will be hosting a Candidate Meet and Greet at Fatpour Tap Works on March 11 at 2005 W. Division Street in Chicago’s Wicker Park starting at 7 PM. The public is enthusiastically invited to attend. Libertarian candidates expected to attend include Bill Redpath (US Senate), Thea Tsatsos (Board President), Joseph Schreiner (County Clerk), Michael Murphy (County Treasurer), Nico Tsatsoulis (County Assessor), James Humay (District 1 Commissioner), Jason Ross Decker (District 5 Commissioner), and Brandon Sizelove (District 11 Commissioner).
About the Libertarian Party of Chicago
The Libertarian Party of Chicago is a local chapter of the Libertarian Party of Illinois, an affiliate of the national Libertarian Party. The party is comprised of common people united by two goals: 1) to advocate for a better Chicago through the promotion of liberty and 2) to make the Libertarian Party a legitimate and viable political option in modern American politics. Join us for our monthly meetings (www.LPChicago.org/events) and follow us on Facebook at @ChicagoLP.
Communications Chair, Libertarian Party of Chicago