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Cohen allegedly using “junkies” to pass petitions

Thursday, May 27, 2010 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Not unexpected

They say they don’t know who Scott Lee Cohen is, why he’s running for governor or who his opponents are.

They don’t know who can legally sign a petition.

But that’s not stopping people hired off the street on behalf of the Cohen campaign from collecting petition signatures for a dollar each.

You should really read the whole story. It’s unintentionally hilarious. Allegations of “junkies” being recruited to circulate petition sheets, a base of operations at a Cohen pawn shop and the flop-house upstairs, and then there’s this fantastic quote from Cohen’s spokesperson…

“There are thousands upon thousands of people collecting signatures for Scott around the state.”

Yeah. Right. I totally believe that “thousands upon thousands” of people are passing sheets for Cohen. Ridiculous.

* In other unusual campaign news, Green Party gubernatorial nominee Rich Whitney is getting quite a bit of local coverage of his statewide tour

The Green Party candidate for governor is using the state’s public transit systems to push a green agenda.

Rich Whitney is in the midst of a nearly 700-mile tour of the state, which he is traveling exclusively by rail and bicycle. He hopes the journey will draw attention to the need to upgrade the state’s public transit infrastructure, and lessen Illinoisan’s dependence on cars.

And, unlike a certain lt. governor nominee I can think of, he’s promised to release his tax returns…

When asked about releasing his tax return, Whitney said he would likely get around to doing so after redacting some of his wife’s information. He characterized the joint return as reflecting “lower-middle class” incomes of a “people’s attorney” and a nurse.

He hemmed and hawed a little bit in Springfield this week, however. Watch


  1. - matt - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 12:11 pm:

    No way Cohen is getting on. I’ve been approached by his people who just say “sign this”. Don’t even ask if I’m a registered voter in IL, which I’m not.

  2. - John Bambenek - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 12:17 pm:

    I find it hillarious that Grainger Terry is still working for Cohen.

    I figured SLC has enough money to hire a legit petition circulation outfit. I called that one wrong.

  3. - Aldyth - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 12:22 pm:

    Can you spell Acorn?

  4. - Rich Miller - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 12:26 pm:

    Yeah, Aldyth, I’m sure ACORN is involved there. Sheesh.

  5. - TaxMeMore - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 12:29 pm:

    Cohen probably only needs one signature to get on the ballot this year. Thank Michael J. Madigan’s power lust and being inept for Cohen this year.

    We have a 14th amendment that guarantees equal protection which Illinois Democrats could care less about. Illinois Democrats are political bigots. Madigan changed election laws so Ds and Rs have to petition after the primary now. So why are there separate and unequal petition signature requirements AFTER the primary? Good luck explaining that obvious discrimination to an impartial judge or panel on the 7th Circuit.

    They might be able to keep him and others off the ballot, but our laws will once again be ruled illegal and unconstitutional very soon.

    Junkies passing petitions might be amusing, but holding unconstitutional elections for 30 years where no independent candidates has been able to get on the ballot for the GA over those 30 years is downright hilarious.

    And that isn’t what I meant when I said Whitney needs to get out more.

  6. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 12:40 pm:

    - “Absolutely not,” Randy Cohen said Wednesday. “They’re not hired through my pawn shop because they’re not getting paid through my pawn shop.” -

    Yeah, wouldn’t want these signature gatherers besmirching the fine image of the pawn shop business…

  7. - Gregor - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 12:53 pm:

    Cohen makes Whitney look like Stevenson.

  8. - UISer - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 12:53 pm:



  9. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:01 pm:

    Is the Cohen Petition brigde helping his independent running mate Forrest Gump?

  10. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:02 pm:

    And here I thought you only had to be on drugs to SIGN Cohen’s petitions…

  11. - Ghost - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:04 pm:

    A dollar per signature from somone living on the street…. so whats everyones best guess, 90-100% forgeries? lot of incentive to go sit donw and ad lib a few signatures.

  12. - TaxMeMore - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:04 pm:

    According to court precedence, primary and general elections are two different elections so in the past they could require two different numbers of signatures, one number for the primary (Rs and Ds), and one number for the general election(indepdents and others). Rs and Ds petition for the primary using a smaller number of signatures. But NOW Rs and Ds also have to petition for the different general election using that same smaller number of sigs they need for the primary.

    There is no court precedent that allows two different amounts of signatures for the SAME election because of the 14th amendment. Illinois election laws are currently in violation of the 14th amendment according to every court precedent one can find on the matter.

  13. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:12 pm:

    C’mon TaxMeMore, this is supposed to be light hearted fun time.

  14. - jonbtuba - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:12 pm:

    Next time someone has to do a lecture at a school about why drugs are bad, this can be used as a quality example.

  15. - TaxMeMore - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:17 pm:

    Why does a Democrat need only 5,000 signatures to get on the GENERAL election ballot, while an independent needs 25,000 signatures to get on the same ballot? Or why does a Republican only need 600 signatures to get on the general election ballot for US House, while an independent needs 15,000 signatures for the same office and election?

    Before the recent election law change, they could say Rs and Ds peition for the different election, which is the primary. Now they can’t say that. They have no legitimate, legal reason for the difference in sig requirements for the same election. The real reason is that they are political bigots, but that won’t fly in court.

  16. - Ghost - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:20 pm:

    TaxMeMore the US supreme court has upheld repeatedly signature systems which set a requriement based on a percentage from the voting district, thus allowing two different signature numbers for the same election from diferent districts, who have different populations etc.

  17. - TaxMeMore - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:30 pm:

    But the US Supreme Court has never upheld two different sets of signature requirements for the same office in the same election. We’re not talking about different districts or the amount of signatures, we are talking about the difference in the amount of signatures between candidates for the same office and same election. Why does a Democrat need fewer signatures for the same office and the same election as an independent? You won’t find US Supreme Court precedence in your favor on that, sorry.

    Before they could say it is because the Democrat petitions for the primary election and the independent petitions for the general election. Now that Madigan and his tools changed that law, they can no longer make that argument.

  18. - siriusly - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:34 pm:

    What’s with all this whining about ballot access? With candidates like SLC hiring circulators like that, I say RAISE the signature requirements. Who needs this!

  19. - jaded voter - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:38 pm:

    People, take away the circus of SLC personal life, keep the money, the crap work by the media, and the uninformed, jaded voted and this is how our elective system always works.

    Look at the clowns who represent us and spend our tax money at so many levels of gov’t.

    SCL is unusual only in the fact that his PERSONAL problems are so out there, so obvious, so jerry springer. Look at Blago & Stroger. SCL is not THAT different, just a BIT crazier.

  20. - TaxMeMore - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:41 pm:

    siriusly, raise the Democrats and Republicans requirements to be equal to independents and others and you are on the right track. The Democrats won’t do that because those requirements would cost them too much time and money. Scott Lee Cohen got on the ballot as a Democrat first, using their lower signature requirement, so maybe the Dems should finally have to face the same type of petition challenges as they have caused others to face for the past 30 years.

    30 years without one single independent candidate able to get on the ballot for the GA, including the laws being ruled unconstitutional already in Lee v. Keith, and this is whining? I suppose the slaves were just whining too before the 14th amendment was passed. It is not whining when the opression is obvious and real, that is, unless you are on the bigots side.

  21. - jaded voter - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:43 pm:

    @Great idea siriusly. Limit ballot access to machine insiders only with higher signature requirements. That could FIX everything.

    How bout just having the press, you know, inform people about who the candidates seeking office really are in an even handed way? Could work.

  22. - Just Observing - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 1:59 pm:

    Jaded is absolutely correct that increasing signature requirements is an incumbent protection plan.

    As for TaxMeMore, I don’t know how strong his legal arguments (as legal arguements tend not to be black and white) but s/he is correct that independents and third party candidates face an unfair hurdle to get on the ballot. I do hope someone challenges the sig requirements in court.

  23. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:43 pm:

    First there were the Crackheads.

    Then there were the Dittoheads.

    Now we’ve combined them and have Cohenheads.

  24. - Independent Minded Dem - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 2:59 pm:

    Wouldn’t it be better if we had a system like Florida where people had the option to either pay to be on the ballot or go through petitions. Gov. Crist down there is one of the few politicians who is doing petitons down there. This might be better for independent candidates. It would also raise the state revenue.

  25. - Anonymous ZZZ - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 3:01 pm:

    Okay, come on - I came here hoping to find all kinds of funny snark about the junkies and instead all we get are dry posts about election law. Harumph.

  26. - Six Degrees of Separation - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 3:15 pm:

    When I run for governor, I plan to campaign by tricycle, to promote the use of three-wheeled transportation in the state.

  27. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 3:16 pm:

    Most voter petitions are pushed by “junkies” - political junkies that is…

  28. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 3:34 pm:

    @Six -

    And I’ll campaign against you on a unicycle, blasting you for your big-spending, three-wheeling ways.

  29. - wordslinger - Thursday, May 27, 10 @ 7:58 pm:

    I do a lot of work at CBOT and CBOE. The pawn shop is around the corner. They absolutely are astro-turfing out of there.

    You can see it any day at at the corner of Clark and Van Buren; Cohen t-shirts and apparently enough money for a bottle of ripple.

  30. - the Patriot - Friday, May 28, 10 @ 7:43 am:

    Here is the Cohen press release he needs to drop…”I was just using the same blueprint used by our own President Obama.”

    I was almost mugged in Chicago by people trying to get me to register to vote for Obama. They did not care when I told them I did not live there. They had no understanding of the process or the legal rules. Does the democrat party really want to start throwing stones over how petitions are passed in Chicago, I think not.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

* Isabel’s afternoon briefing
* Beyond the horse race
* Cannabis baron ridicules equity programs: "We’re going to give these assets to felons and people that have two heads and all this kind of stuff"
* IEPA says it won't do anything about polluting refineries
* Pritzker stands behind his messaging, claims support for candidates
* A quick Illinois history lesson
* Vallas gets out in front of attacks
* Following the money
* A massive failure
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today's edition
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
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* Isabel’s morning briefing
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* Yesterday's stories

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