Brian S. Lambrecht knew the signatures he collected to get the Libertarian Party on the Illinois ballot this fall would be challenged.
But he didn’t necessarily expect he’d be accused of fraud for falsely claiming to live in the Addison home where he has in fact lived for nearly eight years — and, he points out, where he has been paying the mortgage.
The challenge was part of the usual election-year battle in Springfield, when the major parties try to knock their lesser counterparts off the ballot. This year, the Democrats challenged the Green Party, and the Republicans have been doing the same to the Libertarians. The Greens, who got 10 percent of the gubernatorial vote in 2006, and their candidates on July 15 sued in federal court to try to make the Illinois Election Code more friendly to smaller political parties.
Lambrecht, the chair of the DuPage Libertarian Party, was the Libertarians’ top volunteer signature gatherer, collecting just over 1,450 names on petitions. He circulated petitions at the Taste of Wheaton, the Taste of Glen Ellyn, the St. Charles RiverFest, a Route 66 festival in Pontiac, a farmers market in Bloomington and at train stations in Downers Grove, Itasca, Roselle, West Chicago, Winfield, Hanover Park, Schaumburg and River Grove.
But that was just part of the job, he said. After collecting the signatures, the Libertarians had to defend them during seven eight-to-10 hours days starting July 14 before the State Board of Elections in Springfield. The party collected almost 44,000 signatures, and almost 14,000 were ruled invalid, he said. That leaves about a 5,000-signature cushion over the requirement of 25,000, but efforts to discredit more signatures are still under way, he said.
The Democrats and Republicans need only 5,000 valid signatures to get on the ballot.