LIVE session coverage...
SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax      Advertise Here      Mobile Version     Exclusive Subscriber Content     Updated Posts    Contact
CapitolFax.com
To subscribe to Capitol Fax, click here.
Not enough

Friday, Apr 19, 2013

* If passed, this would be a long overdue change, but it doesn’t get to the root of the problem

Incumbents are one step closer to losing the power to kick opponents off suburban ballots after a proposal cleared an initial hurdle in the Illinois Senate.

The measure would abolish the controversial, 120-year-old system of local election panels that critics say allows a suburb’s incumbent politicians to unfairly settle an election by clearing the ballot of rivals on technicalities.

After years of inaction in the General Assembly, a state Senate committee voted 11-2 Wednesday to move the measure to the floor.

The vote came a month after a Tribune investigation found the system riddled with conflicts of interest and questionable rulings that led to fewer choices for tens of thousands of suburban voters.

The Tribune found that at least 200 municipal candidates faced ballot-access objections this year, most of them alleging paperwork errors in candidate petition filings. With the panels, local incumbents get to rule on whether those infractions warrant kicking candidates off the ballot for thousands of municipal, township, school board and community college offices.

Of the 76 candidates removed from the ballot this year by panels, the Tribune found that most fell at the hands of panels stacked with members who had a political stake in the decisions.

What’s really needed, however, is some clear and precise legislative clarifications about what, exactly should disqualify ballot petitions. Too much interpretation is left to local boards and the courts, and we wind up with wildly conflicting rules.

* For example, in some areas, using paperclips to fasten petitions sheets together will disqualify petitions. In other areas, paperclips are fine.

This stuff happens all the time and it’s just plain goofy. All it’s doing is making money for lawyers.

Legislators love the ambiguities for obvious reasons - they generally have the money to keep themselves out of trouble and on the ballot. Their opponents often don’t.

Handing this responsibility over to county panels won’t be nearly enough. We need better regulations.

* And it’s not just petitions. In some counties, if you withdraw from a campaign after the ballot printing deadline, votes for you won’t be counted. In other counties, those votes are counted.

Legislators and/or the State Board of Elections need to step up here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


23 Comments
  1. - Amalia - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 10:12 am:

    yes! now wondering what the clerk of the township does…. for that matter, what township officials really do much of anyway.
    (hey state legislators, please give that some thoughts.) between their pay, their attachment to state pensions, their health benefits, could we not save taxpayers some money that could be better spent if we reduced the benefits of township trustees? as we watch flooding and law enforcement in action, we know money is needed elsewhere.


  2. - Attorney Wannabe - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 10:14 am:

    It’s a little misleading from your excerpt, and maybe the article itself. People on the ballot cannot sit on the electoral boards. Nevertheless, they do have a strong interest in the matters and no doubt have biases that may come out.

    There’s a bunch of bureaucratic stuff that has to happen for these hearings as well. So not only are some potential biases eliminated, I imagine the whole process will be greatly streamlined, hopefully eliminating back and forth ballot removals at the last minute.


  3. - Louis G. Atsaves - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 10:15 am:

    I was in the middle of two of these contest “things” during the last consolidated elections. Both were complete Kangaroo courts and the Tribune article hit home on the problems presented.

    First time candidates who “regulars” want off the ballot are like lambs being lead to the slaughter before this process.

    Guidelines need to be established on how signatures are ruled upon (R. Gordon gets disqualified but Robert Gordon passes muster in one hearing but not the other?) and other issues. Appeals process to the circuit court is by 5 day proof of notice certified or registered mail, instead of personal service, which is more reliable than mail. Two different circuit courts in two different counties treated appeals differently, both in how they were to be filed, and who gets to hear them.

    Give. Me. A. Break. The current set up makes a complete mockery of our current election process.


  4. - RNUG - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 10:23 am:

    Amalia,

    People like township clerks and trustees, if they have benefits and pensions, would be members of IMRF, not one of the state systems (unless they also happened to be employed by the state or school). Yes, you might save some money, but that’s local / township money, not state money.


  5. - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    Ridiculous rules motivated at keeping people off the ballot are just as bad as those motivated to keep people from voting.

    They’re both inherently undemocratic and disenfranchising.


  6. - Amalia - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 10:35 am:

    @RNUG, I’m for saving money for governments generally. as for which pension fund is which, when you are just a voter, it still makes one angry when you watch people playing various systems. why part time officials with few duties would have access to a pension is beyond me. someone somewhere should do something about it.


  7. - Tommydanger - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 10:40 am:

    I’ve sat on these boards that have ruled on challenges. As a candidate I have also challenged other people’s petitions and have had people removed from the ballot. I have also had my petitions challenged as a candidate. The system is overdue for an overhaul. The legislation is a step in the right direction.


  8. - Esquire - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 10:51 am:

    The process can be improved, but sending cases to the County Officers Electoral Board (as often advocated by Cook County Clerk David Orr) is not the answer. Many election jurisdictions are too small to warrant the creation of full-time Election Boards (like Chicago and other cities have).

    The best approach is to adopt self-explanatory rules setting forth when a city or village officeholder MUST recuse himself or herself from serving on an electoral board and apply to the Circuit Court for the appointment of a public member (drawn from a list of qualified lawyers familiar with the Election Code).


  9. - Downstate Illinois - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 11:07 am:

    Rich you are absolutely correct. Lawmakers really need to write clearer laws on ballot access. Equal protection under the law gets thrown out in these cases.

    As to townships, eliminate them. There’s no reason for them to exist except that too many families feed at the political trough.


  10. - Plutocrat03 - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 11:11 am:

    Great idea to get rid of the arcania.

    I have sat on the Boards and always leaned toward inclusion rather than exclusion. Not everyone may behave that way.

    That said, there is a value in a fair set of rules such as number of registered voters being followed to demonstrate the candidate is serious.

    Our area still has petition parties where folks simply fake signatures for candidates.


  11. - Just Me - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 11:19 am:

    Legislators step up? Are you kidding me?!?! This is Illinois.


  12. - onevoter - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 11:23 am:

    This kangaroo court system was in place in Riverdale, Illinois. The citizens were left with two inferior candidates to choose from.


  13. - Esquire - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 11:28 am:

    It is not merely how clear the election laws are, it is how the judges apply the laws. Serious candidates need to know the case law too.

    Another good area for possible revision: clarify the requirements for filing a valid objection and permit candidates who have to defend purely frivolous objections the opportunity to recover attorney’s fees and costs. Many objections are undertaken for purposes of harassment and have little or no basis in fact or law. It sometimes works as uninformed candidates drop out without fighting. If someone files an objection that is not well founded or meritorious, make them pay.


  14. - titan - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 11:40 am:

    I think you’re absolutely correct in concept, but need to keep in mind that it is solely the General Assembly that needs to step on this. The State Board of Elections has absolutely no power over local electoral boards, how they function, or whether this task should be shifted over to the county (which they really should, the Trib article providing all the data needed to see why).

    The County Officers Electoral Board is comprised of the County Clerk, the States Attorney and the Circuit Court Clerk (or the “designee” of any of them in the actual officer’s place). That gives you the election authority for the jurisdiction and at least one lawyer, along with the court colerk (who presumably would be at least somewhat comfortable with this type of proceeding). They would give much more professional and consistent results than the current set up.

    Smaller counties might well experience a little adjustment pain in the switchover, but those counties would also have fewer objections to deal with than a large county. If the 3 county officers don’t want to do the nuts and bolts work (and don’t have staff designees up to the task), it is also possible to conduct the proceedings largely through hearing officers who do all the heavy lifting.


  15. - Just Observing - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 1:02 pm:

    Long overdue!


  16. - reformer - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 1:32 pm:

    There is more than one problem with petitions, but this Senate bill can at least end the outrageous conflicts of interest that almost always exist on local election boards. These officials typically rule on the petitions of candidates running against their allies, with objections made by those allies.

    If a judge had such flagrant conflicts, he’d recuse himself. Kudos to the 11 Senators who recognize that reform in this regard is overdue.


  17. - Jon Zahm - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 3:47 pm:

    I dealt with kangaroo courts in South Elgin and the City of Colona this year. Only because my clients had the money to hire attorneys to take the cases to court were the decisions overturned by Circuit judges. So this bill would solve that problem by kicking those cases to the County Officers Electoral Board where I would expect fair and competent rulings. At least in Kane and Henry Counties. To Rich’s point, I would like to see some clarification on binding (paper clips and binder clips should be insufficient) and pagination (should always be strictly required), among other issues.


  18. - Dan Johnson - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 3:57 pm:

    I think this is a big deal, bigger than what Rich thinks. The county boards are typically far more neutral than the local boards and get you a fairer result.

    FYI, Robin Kelly had a bill to do this in the House when she was there, but it stalled in the Senate.

    I think Senator Biss and all the Senators who supported the bill (particularly leadership that moved the bill) should get some congratulations. I hope this one goes through this year. And I think Senator Murphy should vote for it on the floor…(I think he wasn’t fully briefed on this issue before it came up in Exec).


  19. - Hmmm - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 4:04 pm:

    Re: “the current County Clerk. . .”

    Orr has seldom taken part in county electoral board proceedings. He is not a lawyer like former Clerk Stanley Kusper. Kusper used to chair the electoral board and was experienced in the field. Orr uses a designated lawyer as his substitute. Most Cook County Officers do not participate, choosing subordinates to sit in their places, but Aurelia Pucinski used to attend sessions when she was the Circuit Court Clerk.

    I wonder how far this legislation will actually advance? The current system has served Madigan well and he has a top election lawyer (Michael Kasper) at the ready to do his bidding. Madigan’s organization challenges many petitions in the city and suburbs and defends other candidates (like Rahm Emanuel and Deb Mell) when it suits its purposes.


  20. - Jake from Elwood - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 4:16 pm:

    Why does the Tribune have to include the line about renewing the subscription? I would wager that most of us read this for the first time from the hyperlink in this post.


  21. - Fan of the Game - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 4:28 pm:

    This:

    - wordslinger - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 10:26 am:

    Ridiculous rules motivated at keeping people off the ballot are just as bad as those motivated to keep people from voting.

    They’re both inherently undemocratic and disenfranchising.


  22. - Just The Way It Is One - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 4:38 pm:

    Yes–CONSISTent and consistently-APPLLIED State-wide Regulations are what is needed here!! “Legislators and/or the State Board of Elections need to step up here.” A hearty “Amen” to THAT idea!!!


  23. - Ahoy! - Friday, Apr 19, 13 @ 4:42 pm:

    clarifications would be good as well as requiring independent candidates to gather the same amount of signatures as party candidates, I can’t believe that hasn’t been challenged in the courts.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


* *** UPDATED x1 - Brown responds *** Rauner to Dems: Don't be controlled by Madigan
* Alvarez says Preckwinkle pension bill is unconstitutional
* The Fergus Daly Band
* $106 million down the drain
* Metro-East track agrees to be purchased by ESL casino
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - "Good news" turns to bad news
* Simple answers to simple questions
* Question of the day
* Molly’s Story: Doctors Unnecessarily Removed Her Breast
* Agreeing and disagreeing
* Today's number: 30
* Today's quotable
* Keeping Illinois Nuclear Plants Open: Think About What’s At Stake
* AFSCME: Rauner wants to force a strike
* *** UPDATED x1 *** Durkin, Radogno react to Madigan budget announcement
* *** LIVE *** Session coverage
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Yesterday's blog posts

Support CapitolFax.com
Visit our advertisers...

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............

...............


Search This Blog...

Search the 98th General Assembly By Bill Number
(example: HB0001)

Search the 98th General Assembly By Keyword

          
        * T-Mobile to start selling LG G4 by May 27
        * Skrillex Live Cases now available from the Google Store
        * Microsoft gets more OEMs, device partners to install apps on Android devices
        * Amazon Fire Phone price drops… again
        * Microsoft intros Windows 10 Phone Companion app, Cortana for Android
        * I/O 2015: What’s next for Google?
        * Dreamcast favorite SEGA’s ChuChu Rocket removed from the Play Store

        * GoFar is the personal trainer your car needs
        * Elizabeth Warren: No Need to Stop Uber-ized Workforce, but Must Invest in Education, Research
        * Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel Talks About Those Emails and Diversity (Video)
        * Halo 3: ODST MCC Release Date Revealed On Xbox Website
        * One Of Snapchat’s Key Features Could Be Going Away
        * Amazon Fire Phone Price Gets Cut Again
        * Wind and solar-powered Ecocapsule is your off-grid home of the future

        * Beck to make first MLB start on Thursday
        * Abreu in top 5 at first in AL All-Star voting update
        * AL All-Star Game ballot update: May 26
        * How bad is bad really?
        * White Sox pitchers left to fend for themselves
        * Noesi tripped up by first-inning bump
        * Avisail day to day with knee inflammation

        ...............


        Main Menu
        Home
        Illinois
        YouTube
        Pundit rankings
        Obama
        Subscriber Content
        Durbin
        Burris
        Blagojevich Trial
        Advertising
        Updated Posts
        Polls

        Archives
        May 2015
        April 2015
        March 2015
        February 2015
        January 2015
        December 2014
        November 2014
        October 2014
        September 2014
        August 2014
        July 2014
        June 2014
        May 2014
        April 2014
        March 2014
        February 2014
        January 2014
        December 2013
        November 2013
        October 2013
        September 2013
        August 2013
        July 2013
        June 2013
        May 2013
        April 2013
        March 2013
        February 2013
        January 2013
        December 2012
        November 2012
        October 2012
        September 2012
        August 2012
        July 2012
        June 2012
        May 2012
        April 2012
        March 2012
        February 2012
        January 2012
        December 2011
        November 2011
        October 2011
        September 2011
        August 2011
        July 2011
        June 2011
        May 2011
        April 2011
        March 2011
        February 2011
        January 2011
        December 2010
        November 2010
        October 2010
        September 2010
        August 2010
        July 2010
        June 2010
        May 2010
        April 2010
        March 2010
        February 2010
        January 2010
        December 2009
        November 2009
        October 2009
        September 2009
        August 2009
        July 2009
        June 2009
        May 2009
        April 2009
        March 2009
        February 2009
        January 2009
        December 2008
        November 2008
        October 2008
        September 2008
        August 2008
        July 2008
        June 2008
        May 2008
        April 2008
        March 2008
        February 2008
        January 2008
        December 2007
        November 2007
        October 2007
        September 2007
        August 2007
        July 2007
        June 2007
        May 2007
        April 2007
        March 2007
        February 2007
        January 2007
        December 2006
        November 2006
        October 2006
        September 2006
        August 2006
        July 2006
        June 2006
        May 2006
        April 2006
        March 2006
        February 2006
        January 2006
        December 2005
        April 2005
        March 2005
        February 2005
        January 2005
        December 2004
        November 2004
        October 2004

        Blog*Spot Archives
        November 2005
        October 2005
        September 2005
        August 2005
        July 2005
        June 2005
        May 2005

        Syndication

        RSS Feed 2.0
        Comments RSS 2.0
        WordPress

        Loading


        * ‘Millionaire tax’ falls short in House..
        * Rauner, Democrats at odds over budget as deadli.....
        * Illinois Democrats show budget priorities..
        * Democrats poised to act on state budget..
        * Analysis: Emanuel at Madigan's mercy in Springf.....
        * Democrats readying $36 billion budget..
        * Suburban Democrats say they won't back budget w.....
        * State budget: Dems advance plan; Rauner wants p.....
        * Illinois, Latest State to Oppose BDS..
        * Other View: Will someone please lead Illinois?..


        * Democrats show priorities as they advance 2016 budget plan
        * 911 tapes released about NFL defensive end Ray McDonald
        * Physicist's Nobel Prize up for auction; $325,000 minimum bid
        * Filing: Illinois prep sports body exaggerating suit's impact
        * Illinois TV anchor dies after battle with brain cancer
        * Man killed in elevator accident at the McLean County court
        * Canoeist who drowned going after cat in Illinois lake IDed
        * Canoeist who drowned going after cat in Illinois lake IDed
        * Autopsy: Chicago boy mauled to death had head, neck injuries
        * McLean County maintenance worker dies in elevator accident

        * Democrats start passing parts of state budget; Republicans say it's phony
        * Democrats start passing parts of budget
        * Democrats show priorities as they advance 2016 budget plan
        * Bill expanding in-car blood-alcohol monitoring heads to governor
        * East St. Louis casino group to buy racetrack pending Illinois legislature's approval of slots
        * Rauner names new Illinois National Guard adjutant general
        * Student concussion bill passes Illinois House
        * Madigan: Democrats will pass their own budget; needs $3 billion in more revenue
        * Rauner spokesman rips Illinois Democrats for 'broken' budget
        * Illinois Democrats introduce proposed 2016 budget

        * Emirates Airline blasts Emanuel in subsidy dispute
        * Obama loses second bid to overhaul immigration
        * Classmates.com, FTD pay to settle deceptive billing case
        * Walker distances himself from jobs agency he once held up as a model
        * How The Onion gets people to read sponsored content: Make fun of it


          * Lawsuit: New Trier trainer dismissed cheerleader's need for care
          * Gurnee police seek help in finding woman last seen Friday
          * Emanuel's pension plan: Relief on payments, casino to pay for it
          * Illinois Democrats push ahead with budget that's $3 billion short
          * Off-duty Evanston detective saves man from jumping off parking garage
          * Officer awarded highest Chicago police honor: 'We've got a great team'
          * U.S. bill proposed to require breast-feeding rooms in airports
          * Restaurant apologizes for turning away vet who had service dog
          * Filing: Illinois prep sports body exaggerating concussion lawsuit's impact
          * Washington Post reporter's closed 'espionage' trial in Iran begins


          * Emanuel says no 'three-strike rule' over parks for Riot Fest
          * South Siders lobby for neighborhood promises in writing as Obama library takes shape
          * Charters might move into closed CPS schools
          * Democrats introduce proposed $36.3 billion budget for 2016
          * Chicago Bears' Ray McDonald arrested in domestic violence case
          * Bears release Ray McDonald after domestic violence arrest in California
          * The unsung hero of urban planning who made it easy to get around Chicago
          * Expert panel criticizes medical care at Illinois prisons
          * Chicago school board to consider charter relocations, renewals
          * Vets' best friend: Two veterans trekking cross-country with the dogs that 'saved their lives'


          * Democrats start passing parts of state budget; Republicans say it's phony
          * Bill expanding in-car blood-alcohol monitoring heads to governor
          * East St. Louis casino group to buy racetrack pending Illinois legislature's approval of slots
          * Rauner names new Illinois National Guard adjutant general
          * Kathleen Parker: Who's the studliest of them all?
          * Student concussion bill passes Illinois House
          * Madigan: Democrats will pass their own budget; needs $3 billion in more revenue
          * U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk: Support free trade for Illinois farmers' sake
          * Campaign-style tactics fuel legislative gridlock
          * Bernard Schoenburg: Adam Lopez, Rob Mellon, vie to win Aaron Schock's former U.S. House seat for Democrats


          * 'The legacy he's left speaks volumes'
          * HS 1A Softball Sectional: Fisher vs. Heyworth
          * The Illinois "housing wage"
          * 62 animals found in woman's home
          * HS Graduation: Champaign Central
          * Child dies from injuries sustained in vehicle accident
          * Tornado touches down in Henry Co.
          * Public Safety: Gunfire, auto accident in Normal
          * St. Thomas More headed to state in soccer
          * SportsTalk 05-26-15


          * Glenbard East takes no chances against Metea Valley
          * Rookie van Riemsdyk an option for Game 6
          * San Diego newspaper lays off 1/3rd of workforce after sale
          * FBI agent wounded while searching for 9-year-old girl
          * Floodwaters deepen in Houston after city gets more rain

          * U.S. Rep. Thornberry Juggles Politics as P...
          * Congresswoman Bustos Fights for Veterans i...
          * Secretary of Defense questions Iraqi troop...
          * Nerstrom remembered at PTSD awareness event
          * US Capitol Police Get a Lesson in Guns and...
          * Local Congressman Warns Against Defense Sp...
          * Veterans opine over current conditions in ...
          * Takai Joins a Push to Support New Mothers ...
          * Skowhegan handbell ringers to perform at C...
          * Bustos introduces bill to honor veterans

          * Senators Durbin and Klubuchar lead push to......
          * Investigation: Little evidence troops over......
          * Yats To Washington: Please Buy Ukraine...

          * Prospects dim for 11th-hour PATRIOT Act deal...
          * Iran Begins Secret Trial of American Hosta......
          * U.S. bill proposed to require breast-feedi......

          * Windy City Ribfest Coming Over July Fourth Weekend
          * The Beachwood Radio Hour #57: Chicago Teeters On A Fulcrum!
          * The Beachwood Radio Hour #58: The Gunner's Dream
          * Thorner: Larry Schweikart reviews overdue account of America's true and proud history
          * Thorner: Schweikart reviews overdue account of America's true history
          * Report Details 'Lavish Perks' Enjoyed By Illinois Public College, University Executives
          * Ald. Sawyer New Chair Of Chicago City Council's Black Caucus
          * Fast Food Workers Protest For Higher Wages, Union Recognition At McDonald's Headquarters (VIDEO)
          * Obama's Immigration Orders Remain On Hold After Appeals Court Ruling
          * City Sticker Satellite Sales In Uptown & Edgewater


          * Gulf War Veteran Reports for Duty as IDVA Women Vets Coordinator, Vet Business Champion
          * Vietnam Veteran Confirmed as IDVA Assistant Director
          * The Illinois Department of Public Health Urges Illinoisans to Take Precautions Against West Nile Virus - Illinois Department of Public Health offers tips for avoiding mosquito bites
          * Governor Announces Appointments
          * IDOT Suspends Non-Emergency Road Work for Memorial Day Holiday Weekend - Lanes Opened to Improve Traffic Flow




              Hosted by MCS SUBSCRIBE to Capitol Fax Advertise Here Mobile Version Contact Rich Miller