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.


* Not yet
* Question of the Day
* REAL Peoria mayor defends Twitter raid
* Noland lone "No" vote on Madigan for DPI chair
* 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

          
        * Omate TrueSmart partners with Minuum keyboard
        * Samsung’s Own Apps Don’t Get Used Much, But That’s No Surprise
        * Podcast: Green Day
        * Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 US release date set for May 1
        * OnePlus One announced as the ’2014 flagship killer’
        * OnePlus asking users to “smash the past”
        * Apple Profiles Apps Used To Create Its ‘Powerful’ New Ad

        * The Pivotal Technique Cuts the Crap Out of Learning How to Change
        * The internet is going private. It’s also grown to 138 Tbps of capacity
        * In Q1, Facebook still reigns supreme in social referrals
        * The OnePlus One smartphone runs CyanogenMod, will cost $299
        * Who will crack the code on tech for seniors?
        * Bloom Necklace for Misfit Shine Activity Tracker
        * Blood Alcohol Finder Estimates Your BAC Over Time Based on Your Drinks

        * White Sox injury updates: Chris Sale, Conor Gillaspie, Adam Eaton a...
        * Rienzo tasked with slowing Detroit's powerful lineup
        * Leesman endures short outing in first start
        * Tigers 8, White Sox 6: Turning a mismatch into a game
        * Leesman endures short outing in first start
        * Ventura not basing decisions solely on pitch count
        * Gillaspie sits out with sore left hand


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

        Archives
        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


        * Car dealer says`Buy American' proposal off mark..
        * Quinn issues 'Wrigley Field Day' proclamation..
        * Robo-calls on pension reform bill raise Rauner-.....
        * Correction: Illinois Medicaid-Overpayments Story..
        * IRS gave bonuses to naughty employees — IRS mak.....
        * Mayor Rahm Emanuel Man at Rauner Campaign..
        * Governor issues 'Wrigley Field Day' proclamation..
        * Today is Wrigley Field Day in Illinois..
        * Emanuel's office rips Rauner robocalls on pensi.....
        * Governor proclaims Wednesday as 'Wrigley Field .....


        * Peoria mayor defends response to Twitter account
        * Hearing for Air Force staffer in pipe bomb case
        * Police: 1 person dies after van slams into CTA bus
        * Scorekeeper at Wrigley practices dying art
        * APNewsBreak: Gacy case helps solve unrelated death
        * Teen sentenced to probation for Prophetstown fire
        * Happy 100th, Wrigley Field! A few memories
        * Lawsuit seeks investigation of hiring under Quinn
        * Lawsuit against Mississippi gun dealer settled
        * Hastert among GOP supporters of immigration reform

        * Clock ticking for states to adopt health exchanges
        * Madigan re-elected to lead state Democratic party
        * Hastert, other state Republicans supporting immigration reform
        * Lawsuit seeks investigation of hiring under Quinn
        * GOP lawmaker objects to 9-0 vote for Obama library
        * DNR mining-oversight official fired
        * Democrats: Illinois schools could face major cuts
        * State prisons to use costly drug for hepatitis C
        * Illinois Medicaid paying for dead clients
        * Quinn grants 43 clemency requests

        * Boeing makes planes faster, beats estimates
        * Ebony taps Jet editor to take top slot
        * First Midwest to buy Banco Popular's Chicago business
        * FCB, Starcom nab Choose Chicago ad business
        * Why a racetrack honcho put his office in the basement


        * Ex-head of suburban religious organization denies sex harassment
        * FBI informant on tape hugging man before shooting him: prosecutors
        * Robo-calls on pension reform bill raise Rauner-Rahm rift
        * DNA solves murder of Northwest Side man missing since 1978
        * Robo-calls raise Rauner-Rahm rift
        * Ari Emanuel’s stake in ride-share firm raises uber questions
        * Ari Emanuel’s stake in ride-share firm raises uber questions: Mihalopoulos
        * Vehicle hits Roseland bus stop after police chase, injures 5
        * Vehicle hits Roseland bus stop, 5 injured
        * No public money for Obama library


        * Watchdog questions free parking for city workers
        * Watchdog questions free parking for city workers
        * Man shot to death in Grand Crossing neighborhood
        * Northwestern football players to vote on union Friday
        * Pawnshop that sold gun in cop killing agrees to report more on sales
        * IHSA lifts suspension of girls basketball coach
        * Emanuel's office rips Rauner robocalls on pension bill
        * Emanuel's office rips Rauner robocalls on pension bill
        * CPS mulls privatizing 3 more schools
        * Two officers hit by fleeing car in East Garfield Park


        * Initial Obama Library Vote A "Misunderstanding"
        * Legislator Protests Madigan As Party Chair, Won't Say Why
        * Tax Returns Revealing ... But Not Revealing Enough
        * Quinn Releases Tax Returns; Rauner's Waiting
        * Illinois Senate Joins Push For U.S. Constitutional Convention
        * Quinn Signs Law Intended To Lower Cost Of Auto Leasing
        * Mayors' group pushes for Illinois pension reform
        * Two don't-miss events this Wednesday
        * Illinois Medicaid Paying For The Dead
        * Wait Continues For Schools' Fate Under Proposed New Formula


        * Our Opinion: Top Teen making Springfield a better place
        * Our Opinion: Computer lab a boost for the homeless
        * Lawsuit seeks investigation of hiring under Quinn
        * Madigan re-elected to lead state Democratic party
        * Madigan: 'Misunderstanding' on Obama library vote
        * Hastert, other state Republicans supporting immigration reform
        * Audit: Treasurer's office has 30 guns not given to police
        * State audit: Police training money misspent
        * Amazon takes hit in states with online tax, study says
        * Bankruptcy court trial sought over $3.8 million paid to Parsons


        * Drive-by shoots man through Washington Park gas station window
        * Big Ten recruits, games to watch
        * Car dealer says`Buy American' proposal off mark
        * Daily business briefing: Toyota outsells GM
        * Clinton council looks to slow hiring of hospital's management firm
        * Loren Tate 4/23/2014
        * SARAA Alert: Police searching for missing Belleville boy
        * Nice weather Wednesday -- but it won't last
        * Council delays action on changing neighborhood business district
        * Meg Makes: Take these recipes and run with them


        * The 10th District money race
        * Aurora Democrat calls out IHSA
        * Lawyers: Ill. hazing law vague, unconstitutional
        * Ill. House OKs lower-cost hunting bill for seniors
        * Quinn’s running mate takes new consulting job

        * Rahm, Danny Davis Cheer Expansion of Ex-Of...
        * Rep. Robin Kelly marking first year in off...
        * When Punishment Is Torture: An Open Letter...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. placed in solitary confi...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. Changes Prisons, Could B...
        * Inmates Sent To Solitary Confinement For H...
        * Friend — Not Feds — Transports Jesse Jacks...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. Transferred To Alabama P...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. sent to solitary then tr...
        * Jesse Jackson Jr. Maneuvers Himself Into M...

        * Loading Koch Industries Website Too Many T......
        * Maryland and DC among worst for food aller......
        * Cleveland State University to reestablish ......
        * Convicted political boss Al Sanchez runnin......
        * Candidates make last filings for local, st......

        * Illinois Lt. Gov. Simon opposes pension le......
        * Dillard Odd Man Out on Pension Deal Reaction...
        * Sen. Mark Kirk sides with Rauner on pensio......
        * Governor's race infighting threatens pensi......
        * SCHOONERS - Home of Everyone's Favorite Be......

        * 8th CD GOP candidate Larry Kaifesh rallies Tea Partiers
        * Weyermuller: Senator Rand Paul urges school choice in Chicago
        * The Chicago Dictionary: Volume Three
        * State Rep. Sullivan says Democrats intend to use Obama Library as wedge issue
        * The [Friday] Papers
        * CapitolFax: GOP Leaders are “Nay” to Obama library
        * Meet Orlando Rivera And His Chicago Cuatro Orchestra
        * Thorner: Anti-Amnesty rally planned in Chicago to oppose GOP leadership
        * Kinzinger and Schock encourage immigration reform [video]
        * Sunday book review section. This is Not a Test.


        * Governor Quinn Promotes Welcome Home Illinois Program at Annual Affordable Housing Conference - Addresses Industry Leaders on State’s Improving Housing Market and New Program for First-Time Homebuyers
        * IEMA Encourages Participation in ‘America’s PrepareAthon!’ on April 30 - First National Day of Action Expected to Draw Millions of Participants
        * Redeploy Illinois Program Diverts Thousands of Youth From Prison System, Saves State $60 Million - New analysis of prison diversion initiative shows 54 percent reduction in juvenile incarceration
        * Illinois EPA Recognized for 40 Year of Graduate Public Service Internship Partnership with University of Illinois at Springfield - Agency Internship Programs Help Students Gain Real-World Knowledge of Environmental Protection and Regulations
        * Governor Quinn Proclaims Tuesday, April 22, Earth Day in Illinois - Urges People Across the State to Go Green and Continue Environmental Consciousness




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