Candidate Loses Challenge to Signature Requirement

     CHICAGO (CN) – The 7th Circuit affirmed dismissal of an independent candidate for Congress’ claim that the Illinois State Board of Elections violated his equal protection rights by determining that he lacked the signatures needed to appear on the ballot.

     Allan Stevo sued the Illinois State Board of Elections after the board determined that he had only collected 6,978 of the 10,285 valid signatures he needed to run for Representative in the 10th Congressional District of Illinois.
     Stevo argued that rules requiring signatures from 5 percent of the voting total from the previous election infringed on his First Amendment right to stand for public office.
     He cited the fact that candidates only need to collect 5,000 signatures after a census, which leads to the redrawing of the congressional district map.
     Judge Posner affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of Stevo’s claim.
     “Redistricting is a disorienting event for voters and candidates alike,” Judge Posner wrote, “since it changes the electorate, usually with an eye to improving the electoral prospects of the majority party in the legislature doing the redistricting.”
     Posner ruled that due to varying voter turnouts, requiring 5,000 signatures for every district in every election would not be fair.
     “The change plaintiff asks us to make in the Illinois voting system,” Posner wrote, “might well make that system more arbitrary than it already is.”

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