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Question of the day

Tuesday, Dec 23, 2014

* Should Illinois hold a special election in 2016 for comptroller, or should the next comptroller serve until January of 2019? Take the poll and then explain your answer in comments, please.

online polls

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - William j Kelly - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:18 pm:

    Yes, it’s called democracy.

  2. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    I can’t say I have a strong feeling either way. Current law as interpreted by my reading and AG Madigan allows for the four year appointment. If the GA and the Governor vote to change it, or not, fine by me. I might feel differently for a more important office.

  3. - Cheswick - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:22 pm:

    2016. I’m not comfortable with a person holding an elected office being more accountable to the person who appointed him than the electorate. Let the voters have a say.

  4. - PublicServant - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    It’s the right thing to do. Just do it.

  5. - Pyrman - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    Doesn’t matter what office, any appointment should only last until the next election.

  6. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Voted 2016.


    “Should” is the key. “Should there be a special election?” Yeah, but I would be just as comfortable if it was a 4 year appointment. Really doesn’t bother me.

    However, framing that this is a 4 year, and only a 4 year appointment is swimming in deep waters hoping a shark doesn’t get you.

    If it’s framed by the Dems as “usurping the democratic process”, rightly or wrongly, if that gathers steam, does the ILGOP want that as the discussion, and further, defending against an “option” of democracy needs to be thought out and delivered carefully.

    The message is what will “win” not the legal argument(?)

    “Why take a chance?”

    So, I voted for 2016.

  7. - OldSmoky2 - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Given that it won’t cost anything, there’s no reason an election for the position shouldn’t be held in 2016. Four years is a long time for an appointee to fill an elective position.

  8. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:26 pm:

    I don’t believe a complete four year term should be filled by appointment.

  9. - Robert the Bruce - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:26 pm:

    Special election. It’ll give us something to talk about. And Simon another chance. jk.

  10. - Jon Lester - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    I voted 2019 simply because JBT was a republican and therefore the office should stay as such.
    On the other hand the democrats would argue that means nothing.
    The problem I see is everybody knows as Rich reported, a 2016 race clearly favors the Dems and that in itself wouldn’t be fair. The Dems would have a large advantage especially if Clinton is the candidate. Like Obama she is from are great state and the voters will turn out in droves for her and push the Dem vote up big time.
    I am hard pressed to name one republican that could win that race, not one….
    Just my humble opinion.

  11. - Dave O'Neal Fan Club - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    Voted 2019. The Constitution is clear. It may not be the outcome the posters want, but it is what it is. No one expected a hyper-unusual situation like this but the law is the law.

  12. - Louis G Atsaves - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    Illinois Constitution is basically silent on a special election for Constitutional officers. Why? I voted 2019 only because a Constitutional amendment will need to be put on the ballot on 2016 making squeezing in a special election nearly impossible.

    Don’t blame me. Don’t throw any nasty comments at me. Being Republican or Democrat means nothing right now, the Constitution applies to everyone. I didn’t write that Constitution. I am only following its provisions.

  13. - Dave O'Neal Fan Club - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:31 pm:

    Wenscia: Complete and almost-complete terms are filled by appointment all the time.

  14. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:31 pm:

    And while we here can aspire to ideals of democracy, etc., let’s not pretend that in the trenches this issue is about anything other than party control of the office, jobs, etc. to most involved despite lofty pronouncements to the contrary.

  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:32 pm:

    ===Illinois Constitution is basically silent ===


  16. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:34 pm:

    ===basically silent===

    Is that like a lil pregnant?

    Either it’s silent or not.

    “Basically” tells me there is more going on besides “silence”

  17. - Louis G Atsaves - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    @Rich, @OW, sorry guys. The current language supports my statement. It would be stretching things to say otherwise. The legislature hasn’t fared all that well when running up against Constitutional provisions in recent years.

    Don’t shoot the messenger.

  18. - Aldyth - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:38 pm:

    Yes. No appointment should be for the entire 4 year term.

  19. - Nearly Normal - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:39 pm:

    2016. Appointment for full four year term sticks in my craw no matter the party of the governor.

  20. - Mason born - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    2016. IMHO there should not be an appointment that lasts longer than the next feasible election. Protecting a party’s perceived “right” to a seat is silly.

  21. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:41 pm:


    You are just plain wrong. Period. End of story. The Constitution allows for special elections. It’s been pointed out here before. If you are going to be so resolute about something you should make sure the facts support you first.

  22. - Put the Fun in unfunded - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    Though I often disagree with superminority leaders Durkin and Radogno, I tend to agree with their analysis posted a few days ago. For those people concerned about four year appointments, that is the standard term for associate judges in Illinois.

  23. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:42 pm:

    I voted 2016. I’m not a fan of an appointment for a full term.

    And as for the dopes saying people voted Republican and it should stay Republican I say hogwash. People voted for JBT.

  24. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    == I tend to agree with their analysis posted a few days ago==

    And that analysis was torn apart.

  25. - South of Sherman - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:43 pm:

    Absolutely 2016. There’s no reason to think the framers of the Illinois Constitution envisioned one man having four-year appointment power over what is supposed to be an independent constitutional office.

  26. - SO IL M - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:47 pm:

    2016. Because we do not live in a Democracy, but in Representative Republic. The Comptroler is and should be elected by the people that they serve and represent. The state GOP will suffer again if they are short sited enough to fight this. If they are afraid they will lose the election in 2016 then they should put up the best candidate and work harder.

  27. - Oswego Willy - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:49 pm:

    - Louis G. Atsaves -,

    I am personally comfortable with the 4 year, but the premise brought out and touted by Leaders Radogno and Durkin, and set up by Rauner’s pronouncement “isn’t helping” if the discussion turns to democracy and the provision that allows for a special election.

    If the Leaders and Rauner frame it “better”, that will help loads in the political.

  28. - Wordslinger - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:53 pm:

    2016. There’s a statewide election going on anyway.

  29. - Kerfuffle - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:53 pm:

    Let’s just combine the Comptroller and Treasurer’s position at some point in the next 4 years and leve the person appointed in the job until the regular election period comes up when we can vote for one person for both jobs.

  30. - elginkevin - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    Appointments should only be until the next election. The voters should have a say as soon as feasible.

  31. - Rauner'sroboticpollingfirm - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    Full four years - GOP won it and should keep it. The same philosophy would apply, should the remaining Democratic state wides became vacant. SOS, AG, and soon-to-be Treasurer, therefore would be Dem. appointee.

  32. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:56 pm:

    2016. Time for the voters of Illinois to make another mistake by electing the wrong person….

    That’s republican Democracy (small “r” intentional). It gives the voters the right to choose…badly… in the case of Illinois.

  33. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:58 pm:

    The Democratic Party maximal position was that Quinn should appoint until the next scheduled election.

    Democrats didn’t take that position b/c key Democrats weren’t willing to go along with it.

    The GOP maximal position was to allow Rauner to make a four-year appointment and for JBT’s deputy to be appointed in the interim.

    Instead everyone is getting the best deal they can given the balance of power.

    Since Republicans don’t have the power to get their way, they whine a bunch.

  34. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    ==If the Attorney General, Secretary of State, Comptroller or Treasurer fails to qualify or if his office becomes vacant, the Governor shall fill the office by appointment. The appointee shall hold office until the elected officer
    qualifies or until a successor is elected and qualified as may be provided by law . . . ”


    Until a success is ELECTED. And it says AS MAY BE PROVIDED BY LAW. Where in the Constitution does it say a special election is not allowed?

  35. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:00 pm:

    ==Time for the voters of Illinois to make another mistake by electing the wrong person==

    Bob, bite us. If you hate the state so much why do you obsessively comment about it? Stay in Arizona and make your own “good” choices. Y’all did brilliant with that loon Jan Brewer.

  36. - ajtg - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:02 pm:

    I chose 2016: I think it is a good idea to create a law to require special election halfway through an appointed constitutional officer’s term as it is an elected position and a governor should not get to appoint the entire term of an elected officer.

  37. - OldSmoky2 - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:03 pm:

    ==Let’s just combine the Comptroller and Treasurer’s position at some point in the next 4 years==

    You know, I was more or less for that until I read here why they separated the two offices. And JBT did some very good things as comptroller. As well, she often served as a much needed voice for fiscal common sense in state government while comptroller. So now I lean toward keeping the two offices separate.

  38. - olddog - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:06 pm:

    2016 — not sure how important this is, but in practice the comptroller has been elected independently of the governor and has usually been of the other political party. It’s better, at least in theory, to have different people watching the money.

  39. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:09 pm:

    ==- Louis G Atsaves - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 12:38 pm:==

    So your interpretation overrides that of the people who wrote the Constitution?

  40. - The Colossus of Roads - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:12 pm:

    If Quinn won would we even be having this discussion? If the answer is yes then 2016, if the answer in no, then 2019.

  41. - Black Ivy - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:18 pm:

    Obviously, I vote for 2019.

  42. - Put the Fun in unfunded - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:24 pm:

    Who won Comptroller is not relevant to whether the office should be held by that party. This is appointed, one of those things that goes with the governor’s office. When Alan Dixon was elected to the Senate, SOS switched parties because Thompson was in office. Same thing will happen with AG if Lisa beats Kirk in 2016. In each case, for the time left in the term.

  43. - Mokenavince - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:28 pm:

    The right thing to do is eliminate the office as Judy wished.

  44. - Left Leaner - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:32 pm:

    Living in a democracy. Regardless of feelings about its usefulness (or lack thereof), it’s an executive level elected office. The person elected to that office was never sworn in. Appointments to an elected office lasting longer than two years set a dangerous precedent.

  45. - Bigtwich - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:33 pm:

    “…the law is the law”

    Yes, until it is changed according to the Illinois Constitution. The only reason anyone is arguing against this is based on their perspective that the office would change parties in 2016. I do not remember such concern when Gov Thompson appointed Jim Edger to succeed Alan Dixon as Secretary of State so why now? Different ox being gored?. Anyway if such partisan concerns are more important then democracy just make the law effective in 2019. It is something that should be addressed.

  46. - Percival - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:36 pm:

    2016 strikes me as the right thing to do, meaning give the public its say as soon as reasonably feasible from a fiscal standpoint, so the next General Election. The Constitution leaves the question wide open to an enactment to set the special election.

  47. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:38 pm:

    2016. Analysis by AG Madigan’s Office was the clincher. And can we quit saying there would be a “Special Election” and instead say something along the lines of “There will be a special election for Comptroller held as part of the November 2016 General Election.” ? Most interpret “Special Election” as a standalone election, like replacing a US Representative, with the resulting standalone costs. The cost in 2016 would be, basically, ink and paper.

  48. - MrJM - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:45 pm:


    A little more voting never hurt nobody.

    – MrJM

  49. - Norseman - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:46 pm:

    2016. For the reasons stated so well by others. However any legislation for special elections should apply to the other offices as well.

  50. - Jeff Trigg - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:49 pm:

    I voted for the special election in 2016, but it won’t happen. A special election just gives the Libertarians and Greens and ? a very good opportunity at 5% and ballot access for 2018. Then blanks like Louis Atvaves won’t have much of a chance to be whiners that mock democratic elections and limit voter choices. I suspect when Madigan is faced with a choice between a special election, having an R in office for two more years, or combining the Comp & Treas offices, he’ll finally come around to combining the offices and put that on the 2016 ballot instead.

  51. - Loop Lady - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:53 pm:

    In the best case scenario, the Comptroller should be an elected office. Judys unexpected death calls for a band aid measure until such time when a fair election process can occur.

    Despite the bashing he took here, I think Quinn is doing the right thing asking for legislative input
    with this circumstance not explicitly defined in the Constitution.

  52. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 1:56 pm:

    I don’t think the seat has to be held by an R just because we voted one in to it. Personally I think JBT transcended her party, and would have done so had there been a D after her name.

    But I voted 2019 because it would save the state some money.

  53. - Sarge - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 2:00 pm:

    I voted for 2019. Until Judy’s death, this has not been a big enough issue for anybody to address since 1970. I say let the appointment run for four years, but if the General Assembly wants to create special elections to deal with this situation in constitutional offices, let those special elections apply to situations that develop after the bill’s effective date.

  54. - Lunchbox - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 2:06 pm:

    Four years is a long time for any appointee to serve in an elected office. I voted for 2016.

  55. - Not Constitutional Scholar - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 2:07 pm:

    ==However any legislation for special elections should apply to the other offices as well.==

    Would that require a constitutional amendment? From what I understand, they can call a special election for a single vacancy through legislation, but to extend it to all future vacancies for constitutional officers would surely be far more extensive.

  56. - Carl Nyberg - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    If Quinn were re-elected and he appointed Jerry Stermer, my guess is the Speaker and Cullerton would schedule a special election in 2016.

  57. - Bourbonrich - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    Does it make any difference if Gov. Rauner sets the term to 2019 in his appointment proclamation or declaration?

  58. - Juvenal - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 2:14 pm:

    First, four out of five Republican governors have appointed Republicans to fill offices vacated by Democrats.

    If Quinn had won and was appointing to fill the comptroller office, every Republican including Rauner would be howling for a special election.

    Finally, a special election with a concurrent vote on an amendment to reunite the comptroller’s office with the treasurer’s office is probably the best hope of merging the two offices.

    A Rauner appointment for four years would sabotage any hope of reuniting the offices. The state’s chief financial officer is separate from the governor’s office to provide a check on executive spending. Granting the governor the authority to appoint the CFO for four years renders that check meaningless.

  59. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 2:15 pm:

    It might be more difficult to set special elections for all future vacancies, but if people truly believe in handling this particular vacancy that way they should be consistent and want all of them treated the same way going forward. Removes accusations of partisan opportunism from the equation to a great extent.

  60. - zatoichi - Tuesday, Dec 23, 14 @ 2:17 pm:

    2016. People voted for JBT and she won the election, but as we also saw stuff happen that simply cannot be controlled or planned. This not an R or D issue and would a D comptroller do the job that much different from a R. There needs to be someone who understands the job doing the duties of the office as long as the office exists. If JBT had survived the stroke or had a major car accident, but was unable to perform the job, what would have happened? The constitution allows for an appointment in this situation and 2016 is the next election cycle. Seems reasonable to me. No matter what is done it will be seen as unfair to someone.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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