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New party, independent candidates, Kanye West file for November ballot access

Kanye West answers questions during a November, 2019 service at Lakewood Church in Houston. (AP Foto/Michael Wyke, Archivo)

(The Center Square) – Voters could see some different political parties and candidates on statewide and local ballots this November, including rapper Kanye West, because of lower thresholds to get on the ballot for new party and independent party candidates because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Illinois State Board of Elections spokesperson Matt Dietrich said this year the signature threshold needed by third-party candidates was cut by 90 percent for new party and independent candidates.

“For example the Illinois State Legislature and also for congressional seats only in some cases only have to file a few hundred signatures,” Dietrich said.

West, raised in Chicago, submitted 412 signature sheets to file as an independent, according to elections officials. West, as well as other independent filers, will have to survive any vetting of their signatures to ensure he’s received the requisite 2,500 signatures.

Malouf filed Monday and said it was a scary time months ago because they couldn’t risk getting the high number of signatures.

The change came from after lawsuit filed by the Libertarian Party of Illinois that challenged signature requirements during a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders.

“We didn’t want to be risking volunteers going out, we didn’t want to be scaring people or actually harming people who could be high risk and asking them to sign a petition and sign for us,” Libertarian U.S. Senate Candidate Danny Malouf said.

“And Judge Rebecca Palmer actually saw in our favor, which eliminated the barrier to entry significantly for U.S. Senate especially, for President and for Vice President and then reduced the requirements for the rest of the candidates,” Malouf said.

Before that ruling, someone wanting to run for the U.S. Senate from a third party had to collect 25,000 signatures while the Republican or Democratic candidates had to file 5,000 signatures. There were different thresholds for different elected offices, but before the ruling non-established parties had to get far more signatures than their Republican and Democratic competitors.

There are candidates up and down the ballot from the Green Party. Businessman Willie Wilson filed for U.S. Senate under the Willie Wilson Party.

Brad Bielert filed as a Libertarian to be the U.S. House representative for the Champaign-Urbana area.

“You get to hear all the people’s voices with more choices and it appeals to everybody,” Bielert said. “The two-party system is a failing system. It’s not representing the people. It’s not working for the people. It’s working the people.”

The deadline to file objections to the new party nominating petitions is next Monday.

The election is Nov. 3.

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