The Green Party had sued, claiming the barriers for third parties are too onerous, threatening the right to free speech and equal protection.
Scott Summers, the party's candidate for governor, says he's disappointed with the judge's ruling.
"We are very unfortunate in this country to have a two-party system, as far as I'm concerned. We all are hardwired for that as children, but it strangles democracy."
Illinois law requires third party slates collect five times as many voter signatures as Republicans and Democrats need to qualify to run for office.
Summers says the Greens did turn in more than the minimum twenty-five thousand required, but a challenge from Democrats put nearly half of the signatures in doubt.
Rather than fight over the signatures with elections authorities, the Green Party sued. But a federal judge says the Green Party should have filed its lawsuit earlier in the election cycle, which would have given them more options for getting on the ballot.