Ballot access requirements for political candidates in Illinois

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This page contains extensive information about ballot access requirements for state and federal candidates running for elected office in the state of Illinois. Offices included are:

This page contains information on specific filing dates for each election year, how to become a candidate, how to create a political party, campaign finance requirements, state agency contacts involved in the election process, and term limits in Illinois. Information on running for election as a presidential candidate or for county and municipal offices is not included.

Note: If you have any questions or comments about this page, email us.

Year-specific dates


See also: Illinois elections, 2014

Illinois had a primary election on March 18, 2014 and will have a general election on November 4, 2014. Voters will elect candidates to serve in the following state and federal offices:

The filing deadline for established party candidates to run for office in Illinois was December 2, 2013. The filing period for new political party candidates and independent candidates to file their nomination papers begins on June 16, 2014 and ends on June 23, 2014. The deadline to file paperwork to create a new political party is also June 23, 2014.[1][2]

Legend:      Ballot Access     Campaign Finance     Election Date

Dates and Requirements for Candidates in 2014
Deadline Event Type Event Description
December 2, 2013 Ballot Access Established party candidate filing deadline
December 7, 2013 Ballot Access Deadline to file objections to established party candidate nomination papers
March 18, 2014 Election Date Primary election date
June 16, 2014 Ballot Access Filing period for new party candidates and independent candidates begins
June 23, 2014 Ballot Access Filing deadline for new party candidates, independent candidates and to create a new political party
June 28, 2014 Ballot Access Deadline to file objections to independent or new party candidate nomination papers
November 4, 2014 Election Date General election

Political parties

See also: List of political parties in the United States

As of November 2013, Illinois officially recognized two political parties.[3]

Party Website link By-laws/Platform link
Democratic National party platform
Republican Party by-laws

In some states, a candidate may choose to have a label other than that of an officially recognized party appear alongside his or her name on the ballot. Such labels are called political party designations. A political party designation would be used when a candidate qualifies as an independent, but prefers to use a different label. Illinois does allow candidates to identify in this way. A total of 25 states allow candidates to use political party designations in non-presidential elections.{{{Reference}}}

The 11 states listed below (and Washington, D.C.) do not provide a process for political organizations to gain qualified status in advance of an election. Instead, in these states, an aspirant party must first field candidates using party designations. If the candidate or candidates win the requisite votes, the organization may then be recognized as an official political party. In these states, a political party can be formed only if the candidate in the general election obtains a specific number of votes. The number of votes required and type of race vary from state to state. Details can be found on the state-specific requirements pages.[4]

Process to establish a political party

DocumentIcon.jpg See statutes: Chapter 10, Section 5, Article 10 of the Illinois Statutes

Gaining ballot access

A new political party can be created at any political subdivision level, such as state, district or county. To do so, the new political party must file nomination papers for a slate of candidates for all offices up for election in that political subdivision.[5][6]

The nomination papers for the new party's candidates must be filed with the Illinois State Board of Elections during the independent and new party candidate filing period. Along with the nomination papers, the new political party must file a petition that states the party's name and its intention to become a political party. The new political party's name cannot be more than five words and cannot be the same name, nor include the same name, as any established political party.[5][7]

The petition must also contain a list of the new party's candidates for all the offices up for election in the political subdivision in which the party wishes to be recognized. Signature requirements for the petition are as follows:[7]

Political subdivision where party recognition is sought Number of signatures required in statutes Number of signatures required for the 2014 elections[5]
State (including United States Senate offices and state executive offices) Number equal to one percent of voters who voted at the last statewide general election or 25,000, whichever is less 25,000
Congressional District 1 Number equal to five percent of voters who voted at the last general election in that district or the number of signatures required to gain state recognition, whichever is less 16,815
State Senate District 1 Number equal to five percent of voters who voted at the last general election in that district or the number of signatures required to gain state recognition, whichever is less 2,401
State House District 1 Number equal to five percent of voters who voted at the last general election in that district or the number of signatures required to gain state recognition, whichever is less 1,157

Along with the nomination papers and petition, a Certificate of Officers must also be filed, listing the names and addresses of new party officers authorized to fill vacancies in nomination. If this form is not filed, the new party will not be able to fill vacancies in nomination, but the petition will still be valid.[5]

Maintaining ballot access

Once the petition and nomination papers have been filed, the new political party may place its candidates on the general election ballot, but the party will not be officially recognized unless its candidates receive at least five percent of the total votes cast for the offices up for election in the political subdivision in which the party was seeking recognition.[5][6] If the new political party ran a candidate for gubernatorial office and that candidate received at least five percent of the votes cast for that office, the new political party will be recognized statewide and in all political subdivisions.[7]

For an example of how many votes may be needed to maintain ballot access, look to the table below.

Office Votes cast in 2010 Votes needed to maintain ballot access
Governor 3,729,989[8] 186,499
U.S. Representative, District 1 184,386[9] 9,219
Illinois State Senator, District 1 17,517[10] 876
Illinois State Representative, District 1 7,210[11] 361

Convention requirements

Established parties must hold county conventions on the 29th day before the primary election. At these conventions, the county central committees must elect a chairman, delegates to their party’s state convention and any other officers the committee deems necessary. Within 10 days after the county convention, the chairman of each county committee must then forward to the state committee the names and addresses of all newly elected officers of the county committee.[12]

State conventions are held once every four years, during presidential election years. They must be held within 180 days of the primary election of that year.[12]

Election-related agencies

See also: State election agencies

Candidates running for office may require some form of interaction with the following agencies:

Illinois State Board of Elections
Why: This agency is the authority on all laws, information and procedures dealing with elections.

Springfield Office:
2329 S. MacArthur Blvd., Springfield, IL 62704
Telephone: 217-782-4141
Fax: 217-782-5959
Chicago Office:
100 W. Randolph,Suite 14-100, Chicago, IL 60601
Telephone: 312-814-6440
Fax: 312-814-6485

Illinois Secretary of State
Why: Statements of Economic Interests must be obtained and filed with this agency.

Office of the Secretary of State
Index Division
111 East Monroe
Springfield, IL 62756

Term limits

State executives

Portal:State Executive Officials
See also: State executives with term limits and States with gubernatorial term limits

Illinois does not place term limits on state executive offices.

State legislators

See also: State legislatures with term limits

Illinois does not place term limits on state legislators.

Congressional partisanship

See also: List of United States Representatives from Illinois and List of United States Senators from Illinois

Here is the current partisan breakdown of the congressional members from Illinois:

Congressional Partisan Breakdown from Illinois
Party U.S. Senate U.S. House Total
     Democratic Party 1 10 11
     Republican Party 1 8 9
TOTALS as of January 2015 2 18 20

State legislative partisanship

Portal:State legislatures

Here is the current partisan breakdown of members of the state legislature of Illinois:

State Senate

Party As of January 2015
     Democratic Party 38
     Republican Party 20
     Vacancy 1
Total 59

State House

Party As of January 2015
     Democratic Party 71
     Republican Party 47
Total 118

See also

Figure 1: This is a reporting form for campaign contributions and expenditures for candidates running for election in Illinois.

External links

Official state and federal links


Additional reading

Other information