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.


* AFL-CIO responds to Rauner
* Rauner cranks up anti-union rhetoric
* Question of the day
* Why Quinn's med-mar punt matters
* Um, wow
* Tuesday puppy blogging
* A very tough problem to deal with
* Budget stuff
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* 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

          
        * Apple Pay Responsible for Two of Every Three Contactless Payments on Visa, MasterCard, and American Express
        * Undelete for Root Users updated with 64-bit support
        * Apple Sells A Super-Sized 74.5M iPhones In Q1 2015 Thanks To Super-Sized 6 And 6 Plus
        * 'Pushbullet' Brings Notification Syncing and Easy File Transfers to iOS, Mac, and Safari
        * Universal ADB Helper is an easy tweaking tool for newbies
        * Motorola announces Valentine’s Day deals, with up to $140 in savings
        * How to Watch Super Bowl XLIX on Your iPad or Computer

        * Apple Watch to Ship in April
        * Liveblogging the Alibaba Spin-Off, Oops, Yahoo Q4 Earnings Call
        * Career Spotlight: What I Do as a Comic Book Artist
        * Apple shatters iPhone sales record in better-than-expected quarter
        * FTC Warns of the Huge Security Risks in the Internet of Things
        * Deadspin Whatever Happened To The Ripken Kidnapping Case?
        * Apple Beats Wall Street Expectations in Holiday Quarter, Setting iPhone Sales Record

        * On 10th anniversary of signing, Iguchi reflects on '05 title
        * White Sox marketing waits for White Sox baseball to cooperate
        * Gillaspie open to whatever role team needs
        * Podcast: MLB pace of play problem
        * 2015 Prospect Watch: Top 10 second basemen
        * Following up: Inside Toronto's failed pursuit of Kenny Williams
        * Trimmer Garcia ready to take off in 2015

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


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

        Archives
        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


        * Rauner previews 'right to work zones' as first-.....
        * Executive order halts Grundy Mental Health Cour.....
        * SCCS on short list for medical marijuana cultiv.....
        * Former Arlington Heights mayor Mulder picked fo.....
        * Illinois governor previews 'right to work' zone.....
        * Governor needs to rein in gambling..
        * Governor Rauner Visits Decatur..
        * Rauner cranks up anti-union rhetoric..
        * Rauner headed here..


        * US attorney in Chicago announces new cartel charges
        * Belleville hospital's relocation bid hits snag, for now
        * US seeks $1.3 million fine for United Airlines over cargo
        * Southwestern Illinois man ordered to prison in molestations
        * Rauner previews 'right to work zones' as first-year priority
        * Illinois State student hit by vehicle dies
        * Missouri man admits failing to begin prison term for fraud
        * Twins who ran major US drug ring sentenced to 14 years each
        * Twin drug informant tells Chicago judge he's 'ashamed'
        * Judge grants extension in Illinois prison crowding case

        * Rauner previews 'right to work zones' as first-year priority
        * Judge grants extension in Illinois prison crowding case
        * State lawmaker introduces bill to cut officeholders' pay
        * Proposed Logan County medical marijuana growing site gets high score
        * Illinois pays millions to keep inmates who can't find homes
        * Proposed Logan County growing site gets high score
        * Rauner replaces appointee who helped give job to Quinn aide
        * Frerichs announces firm will review Treasurer's office
        * State lawmakers consider police reform key issue for General Assembly
        * Statehouse Insider: Gov. Rauner sounding a lot like primary candidate Rauner

        * Emanuel assailed by candidates who say his Chicago favors the rich
        * Takeover target urges shareholders to take CME's 'bird in the hand' bid
        * Why the markets are tanking today
        * McPier rolls out ad campaign for new DePaul arena, hotel
        * Why the markets have been tanking today


          * Man who fled to Iowa City extradited to face murder charges
          * Man shot in head near South Side bus stop
          * Chicago brothers who infiltrated cartel given 14 years in prison
          * ISU student from Crystal Lake has died after being struck by car in Normal
          * Winthrop Harbor teen pleads not guilty in texting-while-driving death
          * Plea deal explored for Waukegan man accused of strangling wife, daughter
          * Wisconsin Gov. Walker forms group to boost possible presidential bid
          * Girl, 15, pleads guilty to murder in sister's stabbing in Mundelein
          * Woman steers bus to safety after driver collapses: 'I just said I gotta live tonight'
          * Time may be running out for Sycamore's penny parking meters


          * Chamber Orchestra's "No Strings Attached"
          * Pumpkin Pie Could Be Official State Pie
          * State Board Of Education Asks For More Money
          * More People Flying Out Of Springfield & Bacon To Bring Them In WUIS-SJR Business Report
          * Political Football With Sports Facilities Agency
          * Governor Unhurt In Chicago Car Accident
          * Hoogland Show Brings Irving Berlin To The Stage
          * Could Rauner's Spending Hold Derail New Train Routes?
          * Ousted State Public Health Director Off To Washington
          * Interview: Combating Systemic Racism In Springfield


          * Rauner previews 'right to work zones' as first-year priority
          * Judge grants extension in Illinois prison crowding case
          * State lawmaker introduces bill to cut officeholders' pay
          * Quote of the Day: Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015
          * Proposed Logan County medical marijuana growing site gets high score
          * Illinois pays millions to keep inmates who can't find homes
          * Rauner replaces appointee who helped give job to Quinn aide
          * Frerichs announces firm will review Treasurer's office
          * U.S. Dick Durbin and U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock: Online sales tax loophole hurting local businesses
          * Quote of the Day: Monday, Jan. 26, 2015


          * Video gambling revenues doubled in 2014
          * Intersection in Herrin to be closed
          * Famed civil rights protesters to have arrest records erased
          * On Auschwitz anniversary, leader warns: Jews again targets
          * Chenoa reinstates boil order
          * Rusty Chism funeral service
          * Salem lawmaker proposes lottery legislation to help historic sites
          * Man charged in Christmas robbery
          * Rauner previews 'right to work zones' as first-year priority
          * Extension offers Annie’s Project course on planning


          * Former NFLers appeal dismissal of lawsuit over painkillers
          * Jobless-rate moves in 2014: Colorado best, Louisiana worst
          * Belleville hospital's relocation bid hits snag, for now
          * Lynch at Media Day: 'I'm here so I don't get fined'
          * US company outlooks worry investors, sending stocks lower

          * Dold outspent by $1M, but still won in Ill...
          * Incumbent spent more than winner in Illino...
          * Rep. Lipinski Announces Service Academy No...
          * Rep. Lipinski Recognizes and Celebrates Na...
          * Kinzinger, Lipinski Offer State of Union A...
          * Chicago March for Life doubles attendance ...
          * 10th Annual March for Life Chicago Draws R...
          * Archbishop Cupich joins hundreds at March ...
          * Rep. Lipinski Helps Pass Veterans' Suicide...
          * Lipinski: There's still a lot of work left...

          * Senate's swing-state Republicans break ranks...
          * Chicago Pays Tribute to Ernie Banks This Week...
          * Sherrod Brown, senators sound call to ban ......
          * 1st, 2nd Ward Candidates To Debate This Week...

          * Auschwitz liberation resolution is a bipar......
          * U.S. Senate Democrats Call For Delay On Ir......
          * A White House victory as Senate retreats f......
          * Democrats put brakes on Iran sanctions bil......
          * Sen. Chuck Schumer to Sign Onto Iran Econo......

          * IL Attorney General Rejects Termination Deal With Lottery Vendor
          * Democracy For America To Support 7 Progressive Chicago Aldermen
          * Whittle: Number One With A Bullet [video]
          * Illinois’ U.S. Reps Have More Wealth Than Average Member of Their Electorate
          * Obama endorses Rahm Emanuel for mayor of Chicago; cuts campaign ad for him
          * Lucrative six-digit salaries abound in Illinois local government circles
          * Rauner says "right-to-work zones" on his priority list for first year
          * Pro bono performance audit for Treasurer’s office announced
          * Congressman Hultgren introduces anti-human trafficking legislation
          * Lucrative six-digit salaries abound in Illinois local government


          * Rauner announces “Turnaround Team” - Stellar team to help turn Illinois around
          * Commerce Department to Review Proposals for Enterprise Zones - Program Promotes Job Growth in Communities Across the State
          * Governor Rauner signs Executive Order for Minority and Veteran Empowerment
          * Governor Rauner Announces Second Round of Appointments
          * Representative Duckworth, US Army Iraq Veteran Honored With The Abraham Lincoln Veteran Champion Award




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