On January 30, a U.S. District Court in Chicago heard testimony in Jones v McGuffage, a challenge to Illinois law that requires the U.S. House nominees of unqualified parties, and independent candidates, to obtain 15,682 valid signatures from the U.S. House 2nd district, to be on the ballot in the April 2013 special election. The signatures must all be gathered in 62 days, and are due February 2.
The two candidates involved in the lawsuit are LeAlan Jones, Green Party nominee, and Marcus Lewis, an independent who ran in the same district in 2012 and polled 13.44% of the vote. Lewis only needed 5,000 signatures to get on the ballot in the 2012 election.
Because it is mid-winter and because at least three college campuses in the district have excluded petitioners, and also because there are so many Democratic and Republican candidates in the same election, petitioning for Jones and Lewis has been very difficult. Democrats running in the special primary each needed about 1,500 signatures, and Republicans each needed about 350 signatures. With so many candidates, and with the law forbidding anyone from circulating for more than one candidate, and another law that only lets voters sign for one candidate, neither Jones nor Lewis has obtained as many as 1,000 signatures so far. Seventeen Democrats and five Republicans petitioned for the primary ballots in this special election.