SPRINGFIELD – Illinois voters will have a third choice in the race for governor and other statewide offices in November.

In action Friday, state election regulators allowed a slate of Libertarian Party candidates on the ballot, saying they met the tough qualification process for third parties.

As expected, however, the Illinois State Board of Elections unanimously rejected attempts by the Green Party and the Constitution Party to field candidates, saying each failed to collect the required 25,000 signatures.

With Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn and Republican newcomer Bruce Rauner already pummeling each other heading into the final 2 1/2 months of the campaign season, Libertarians will be pushing 33-year-old governor candidate Chad Grimm, a Peoria resident who wants to phase out government employee pensions, eliminate the income tax, legalize marijuana and ease gun laws.

In the 2010 election, Libertarian candidate Lex Green of Bloomington received less than 1 percent of the vote in the race for governor.

Nonetheless, Republicans fought hard to keep the Libertarians off the ballot over concerns they could pull votes away from Rauner in what could be a tight race with Quinn.

However, the board voted 5-2 to give the party a spot on the ballot.

Joining Grimm on the ballot will be lieutenant governor candidate Alex Cummings of West Peoria, Sharon Hansen of Pontiac for U.S. Senate, comptroller candidate Julie Fox of Dundee, Ben Koyl of Downers Grove for attorney genera, secretary of state candidate Chris Michel of Romeoville and treasurer candidate Matthew Skopek of Lemont.

The board also turned down attempts by two Green Party candidates to run for seats in the Illinois House.

Gary Shepherd of Carbondale had sought to run in the 115th District, while Tabitha Tripp of Anna had filed to run in the 118th District. Neither collected enough signatures.

A third-party attempt to run for Congress in Illinois' 13th District also was rejected. Josh Dill of Springfield submitted just 232 signatures out of more than 15,000 needed.

The ballot also contains five referendums designed to push Democrats to the polling places. Among them are nonbinding questions asking if people support raising the minimum wage and taxing millionaires at a higher rate.

Rauner's bid to ask voters if they favor term limits for legislators failed to make it.

kurt.erickson@lee.net|(217) 782-4043

Springfield Bureau Chief for the Herald & Review

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