CHICAGO - As GOP gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner argues the legitimacy of signatures putting a Term Limits referendum on the ballot, it seems the Illinois Republican Party is working to de-legitimize the signatures of Libertarian candidates in order to knock them off the ballot.
Wednesday, Rauner held a press conference appealing to the Illinois Supreme Court to let the people vote on a constitutional amendment that would term limits state lawmakers.
“Nearly 600,000 Illinoisans signed the petition to put our amendment on the November ballot and the State Board of Elections has certified that we submitted more than enough signatures to be on the ballot in November,” Rauner said.
At the same time, however, the Illinois Republican Party (ILGOP) is, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, working to disqualify Libertarian competition on the November ballot.
The ILGOP admitted to the Sun-Times they've hired armed guards from Morrison Security to attempt to get individuals who signed petitions for the Libertarian gubernatorial candidate to disqualify themselves. Morrison Security is owned by Palos Township GOP Committeeman Sean Morrison, who - along with Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman - takes credit for getting Rauner the county party's endorsement in the GOP primary.
One of Morrison's employees - Carlos Rodriguez - approached a woman that circulated petitions for the Libertarian Party and tried to get her to admit a stack of petition signatures were fraudulently obtained, the Sun-Times story said. Although Rodriguez allegedly flashed a holstered gun, the woman did not cooperate with Rodriguez. She filed an affidavit about their encounter, and a petition judge later ruled those petition signatures were legitimately gathered.
The ILGOP spokesman Andrew Wellhouse told the Sun-Times the Morrison investigators are licensed to carry guns, and that they carry them in areas they consider dangerous.
The Libertarian Party says they delivered 43,921 signatures to the State Board of Elections on June 23.
Sounding a lot like Rauner, the Libertarian Party responded to the ILGOP effort to disqualify their signatures, saying:
"Sadly for the people of Illinois, the campaigns of our district candidates have been stopped by the discriminatory ballot blocking strategies written into Illinois election law. We call for every person to contact their Illinois legislators and demand the civil right to equal ballot access regardless of political affiliation."
A State Board of Elections hearing officer ruled earlier that the Libertarians have gathered enough petition signatures to get on the November ballot, and the full board will decide Friday whether to accept the recommendation.
The Illinois Libertarian gubernatorial candidate is Chad Grimm and his running mate is Alex Cummings.