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items tagged with Elections

Guardians of the Castle: How the Political Establishment Restricts Voter Choice
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2010-09-29 13:53:30

On the general-election ballot in Illinois, voters will be able to choose from four candidates for U.S. Senate: a Republican, a Democrat, a Green, and a Libertarian.

That might seem like sufficient choice – and it certainly covers a wide political spectrum – but consider that seven candidates were removed by the Illinois State Board of Elections.

That’s because Illinois has put so many barriers between people who want to run for office and the ballot. Established parties – Republicans, Democrats, and Greens presently – need to collect 5,000 valid signatures for their statewide slates. Independent statewide candidates and other parties need to collect five times as many valid signatures: 25,000.

Beyond that, the petitions of third parties and independent candidates are often challenged by people working on behalf of Democratic or Republican organizations. This year, Republicans have been most active in the ballot-access wars, perceiving a threat from several limited-government parties.

These challenges have several effects. First, they make the effective signature threshold much higher. “The challenge process effectively turns the 25,000 requirement into a 50,000 requirement to account for potential[ly] invalid signatures,” wrote Steve Hellin, the communications director for Illinois’ Libertarian Party, in an e-mail.

Second, the financial, human, and time resources required to fight a challenge are significant and come at the expense of traditional campaign activities such as fundraising, advertising, and connecting with voters one-on-one. “Attention is put to the mechanics of existence, which may or may not be especially relevant in actually getting someone elected,” wrote Phil Huckelberry, chair of the Illinois Green Party. “It’s an absurd approach to democracy.”

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Brady Keeps Blundering
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Illinois Politics

2010-02-28 12:21:30

Jerry Clarke is not easily ruffled. Not only has he seen it all in his years running campaigns in Illinois, but he's served several tours of duty in Iraq as a combat helicopter pilot.

But I thought Jerry might actually faint last week when I called him with an update on his candidate's latest piece of legislation. Clarke is running state Senator Bill Brady's gubernatorial campaign.

Brady's bill would undo a compromise worked out over two years to stop the practice of mass euthanasia of dogs and cats. The animals were often put into auto-exhaust gas chambers and killed en masse, sometimes allegedly by so-called "puppy mills" when the animals weren't sold. The gas chambers were deemed cruel because it could take as long as 30 minutes for the animals to die, and some even survived the ordeal.

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Ted Rall: They'll Make the Right Decision
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Lifestyle

Category: Ted Rall

2010-02-14 12:13:07

Moritz Improves Election Security, But Audits Require State Action
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Local News

2009-10-28 14:09:31

Roxanna MoritzThe irony was clear. Earlier this month, Michael D. Elliott came in third place by one vote in the Third Ward primary for Davenport City Council.

Elliott ran for Scott County Auditor - the election administrator for the county - in 2008 on a platform that included election transparency and integrity, including a push for post-election audits. The recount he requested in the city primary gave him the opportunity to test the system.

The recount returned the same results, and Elliott said by e-mail that he was satisfied with the policies and procedures put in place by Auditor Roxanna Mortiz, who defeated him and Steve Ahrens last year: "The process was thorough and documented. Obviously the counts came out correctly. I was also there at one of the precincts to watch the poll be closed, so I pretty much got to see the entire process in action. I am very confident that the system works as it should. ... Moritz was very open and patient and did an excellent job throughout this small election. I'd say it was a good trial before our larger municipal election" next week.

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Ted Rall: The Power of Persuasion
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Lifestyle

Category: Ted Rall

2009-10-23 16:04:48

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