By: Jennifer Floyd
While the media might be focused on the antics of Clinton, Trump, and Sanders, parties like the Libertarian Party are quietly gathering their supporters and prepping their candidates. One such group is the Libertarian Party of Illinois which will host their annual State Convention on March 11-12th, 2016 in Springfield, IL.
Just like the Republicans and Democrats, the candidate pool for president is quite large. At the time of writing this article 4 of the 8 presidential candidates will be participating in a debate. Slated to attend are Dr. Marc Feldman, Cecil Ince, Steve Kerbel, and Austin Petersen. The debate will be moderated by Julie Borowski, a blogger, writer, award-winning YouTube host, and Policy Analyst for FreedomWorks.
The convention, while a fantastic way for members to network and grow, also serves a very important purpose; the nomination and selection of candidates for state-wide offices and delegates to the national Libertarian Convention. This fall, the positions of U.S. Senate and Comptroller will be up for election. Current announced candidates for nomination; Claire Ball for Illinois Comptroller and Chris Michel for U.S. Senate will be presenting. The party will also recognize candidates for local elections seeking endorsements from the Libertarian Party in their run for office. Unlike other parties in Illinois, Libertarian candidates are nominated directly at the conventions and approved by vote at the annual business meeting.
However, when a group of Libertarians get together, there will also be entertainment and education. Julie Borowski will be the luncheon keynote speaker, presenting her topic “Why You Should Be Optimistic.” The trivia contest dubbed Libertarian Jeopardy makes its return, there will be an auction to raise funds, and a regional beverage competition. Two workshops will be held on Saturday; “Who’s Driving?” a simulated interview to hone the presentation skills of candidates, and a Petitioning Workshop to help educate members who will participate in signature collection to get Libertarian candidates on the ballot.
One of the hot topics for discussion this year will be the recent court decision striking down the “full slate” requirement imposed on third party (or “new party” as they are referred to in IL) candidates in Illinois. Originally imposed in 1931 probably to keep communist party candidates off the ballot, it was declared unconstitutional in an order on February 12 by U.S. District Court Judge Andrea R. Wood. This created a massive obstacle for new party candidates running for local office since they would have to find people to run for every open spot in local elections and diluting the efforts of the state party when they would have to run 7 candidates just to run for governor.
The Libertarian Party of Illinois State Convention will be held on March 11-12th, 2016 at the Hilton Garden Inn, 3100 S Dirksen Pkwy, Springfield, IL. Attendance is free and open to the public on Friday, March 11th. Attendance at the Saturday workshops and luncheon requires registration available at LPIllinois.org.