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Peoria paper warns of “revolution”

Tuesday, Sep 27, 2016

* The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear independent congressional candidate David Gill’s case that he was illegally knocked off the ballot for coming up short on petition signatures. Gill won his case at the district level, then lost at the appellate level. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan denied the request for appeal. The Peoria Journal Star is hopping mad

For us, it was the principle of the thing in a state where Gill is quite right that the political system is “rigged” — against third parties, in favor of incumbents, etc. To suggest, as the state did in federal court, that Illinois law on this subject is “reasonable and non-discriminatory” is nonsense. It’s clearly discriminatory against independents. It’s only reasonable if you’re among the favored in an Illinois that has made a mockery of every aspect of a government “of the people, by the people, for the people.”

What we have instead in the state we have the gall to call the “Land of Lincoln” is a government for them and against us, that has few peers for incompetence and corruption, that goes out of its way to deny its residents the choices they want (see the Independent Maps effort).

George Washington may have been on to something in warning us to the dangers of a two-party system — “itself a frightful despotism.” Not in our experience have Illinois and U.S. voters been so fed up as they are now with such “deplorable” — to borrow a popular term — choices at the ballot box. Come the revolution, don’t say it came without warning.

Keep in mind when commenting that these were federal judicial rulings about a state law. Also keep in mind that independent candidates aren’t subject to primary opposition, which is one reason why they have to obtain so many signatures. You can make the case that it’s a bad law and does discriminate, but it’s apparently not unconstitutional.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

21 Comments
  1. - Team Sleep - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 1:48 pm:

    I think Dr. Gill is tilting at windmills, but he’s right to challenge the law and he’s smart to bring this issue to the limelight through proper legal channels. He won’t win the case but he’s made his point and gotten coverage.

    I’m upset that Governor Johnson and Dr. Stein weren’t included in the first debate, but perhaps they would be better served by bringing suit(s) in federal court as opposed to screaming on Facebook and Twitter.


  2. - Anon - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 1:52 pm:

    A race I worked in a different state had a candidate get on the ballot because ‘he’d thought it’d be fun’ in the only interview he gave. I think he made it to one candidate forum and that was it. That’s all he did. It was during a wave election year, though, so someone might have been hedging their bets — but having a high bar is better than having a ballot full of people that out for funsies.


  3. - Chicago_Downstater - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 1:57 pm:

    I agree with the Supreme Court on this one even if I think the law isn’t optimal.

    Just for the sake of argument would it be possible to force independent candidates into primaries with other independents and remove the signature collection issue or would that have unintended consequences I’m not fully thinking through?


  4. - Ron Burgundy - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:04 pm:

    While challenging the specific numbers required is valid as far as I’m concerned, the required signatures should be significantly higher if the candidate is not subject to a primary process. As a practical matter I don’t think we want to incentivize every Tom, Dick and Harry to skip the primary process and go straight to the November ballot without proving some minimal support.


  5. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:17 pm:

    @Ron Burgundy: it’s not minimal support but broad support that should be demonstrated to get on the general election ballot. That’s one step from swearing in; it’s not for the unserious or the distractors.


  6. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:39 pm:

    –Come the revolution, don’t say it came without warning.–

    The Gill Revolution? Gotta admit, I didn’t see that coming.

    –George Washington may have been on to something in warning us to the dangers of a two-party system — “itself a frightful despotism.”–

    I’m sure that if Washington were alive today, he’d blush with pride that the PJS edit board credited him as maybe being “on to something.” That’s high praise, considering the source.

    Washington was down on the concept of parties, period, and of factions, mostly geographic in those days.

    I didn’t realize the “revolutionaries” at the PJS never engage in party or regional factionalism.

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/washing.asp


  7. - JoanP - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:50 pm:

    @Chicago_Downstater - “Just for the sake of argument would it be possible to force independent candidates into primaries with other independents . . .”

    I don’t see how. The purpose of a primary is to select the candidate of a specific political party. Since, by definition, independents do not belong to a political party, what party’s “primary” would they be running in?


  8. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 2:53 pm:

    Move to open primaries where the top three candidates appear on the General election, subject to the third candidate having received at least 10% of the primary vote.

    Nobody runs unopposed in the general and only those with significant support make the ballot.


  9. - Union Man - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 3:37 pm:

    Get rid of party primaries. Just have two or three elections where the top 5 continue, then the top 3 and then a winner. This ain’t rocket science.


  10. - thechampaignlife - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 3:49 pm:

    How about the high 3 signature counts make it on the ballot, guaranteed. Anyone that collects more than x% also makes it on.


  11. - Red tower - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 3:52 pm:

    I don’t think one justice alone can stop a case, just deny an emergency hearing. If he wants to press it further he can but it might not matter because of timeliness.
    I could be wrong though.


  12. - siriusly - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 4:06 pm:

    How about we create a system where only people who have billions of dollars to spend or the political ability to legislate, litigate and navigate the complex election laws are in charge ?


  13. - Chicagonk - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 4:12 pm:

    Forget it Jake… It’s Chinatown.


  14. - LessAnon? - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 4:18 pm:

    Not sure Gill is the best flag-bearer for Independent candidates and ballot access. A disgruntled Democrat who ran and lost already looking to screw over the party that he believes screwed him over. Sometimes it’s not as complicated as we want to make it. Not saying ballot access shouldn’t be something in between what we have today and a free-for-all; just that Gill is a poor standard-bearer.


  15. - hisgirlfriday - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 4:22 pm:

    SCOTUS staying out was a good thing here. There are numerous citizen-friendly election reforms I would support in terms of federal/state amemdments or changes to election laws but I just don’t see a constitutional injustice to remedy in the Gill case. If SCOTUS got involved it’d just be stepping in to make policy.


  16. - Dead Head - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 4:24 pm:

    Wasn’t it Thomas Jefferson who said it would be good for this country to undergo a revolution every seven years or so? It’s long overdue.


  17. - Six Degrees of Separation - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 4:41 pm:

    But if you go carrying pictures of David Gill
    You ain’t going to make it all the way to Capitol Hill.


  18. - Amen - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 6:33 pm:

    “every person has a right to be a candidate
    for any office for which he is legally qualified, but if every man might have his name on the
    official ballot great inconvenience might result. Therefore no person may have his name
    printed on the official ballot unless he has been nominated by a party or by a certain number
    of voters.” People ex rel. Schnackenberg v. Czarnecki, 256 Ill. 320, 327 (1912)


  19. - Mama Retired - Tuesday, Sep 27, 16 @ 8:35 pm:

    Why don’t we change the law to force all independents to run against each other in the primary?


  20. - Anonymous - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 9:55 am:

    “I didn’t realize the “revolutionaries” at the PJS never engage in party or regional factionalism.”

    Hear, hear.


  21. - GridleyGuy - Wednesday, Sep 28, 16 @ 10:42 am:

    FYI–1980 PJStar endorsed the Libertarian presidential candidate Ed Clark, over Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan. Of course, PJStar Editorial Board has changed over the years. Just wanted to give the historical perspective here.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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