In these times of divisive partisan politics of the Presidential elections kind it’s supposed to be difficult to find something both sides will agree to. Not really. How about protecting the status quo?
HB 2009 passed the Illinois House in March 2012 with a 75 to 38 vote and in short order it passed the Senate March 29, 2012 with a 53 to 3 vote. Locally, Robert Pritchard, Joe Sosnowski, Christine Johnson and Dave Syverson all voted in favor of the measure. Gov. Pat Quinn quickly signed the bill which amends the Illinois election code to prevent a potential candidate from switching parties during a general election cycle into law.
But wait, there’s more…
Public Act 097-0681 says [emphasis mine]:
A person (i) who filed a statement of candidacy for a partisan office as a qualified primary voter of an established political party or (ii) who voted the ballot of an established political party at a general primary election may not file a statement of candidacy as a candidate of a different established political party or as an independent candidate for a partisan office to be filled at the general election immediately following the general primary for which the person filed the statement or voted the ballot. A person may file a statement of candidacy for a partisan office as a qualified primary voter of an established political party regardless of any prior filing of candidacy for a partisan office or voting the ballot of an established political party at any prior election.
Now the media-given excuse for the unusually fast-tracked bipartisan support was to prevent Cook County GOP Executive Director Tom Swiss, who lost to State Rep. Derrick Smith (D-Chicago) as a Democrat in the March primary from switching back to the Republican Party to oppose Smith in the November 2012 General Election. Smith is currently under investigation for allegedly taking a $7,000 bribe weeks before the March primary.
But the new law — passed and signed just after the March 2012 Primary Election — prohibits anyone who voted on a Democrat or Republican ballot from running as an Independent candidate for office in Illinois. Home of two consecutive incarcerated Governors. One each from The Two Established Parties. Anti-incumbent sentiment? Bwah ha ha ha! Thinking outside of the box? Only to keep those on the outside from getting in.
Otherwise residents and taxpayers in the Land of Lincoln have to chew on whether we think the Democrats would rather dance with the alleged devil in their choir or the Republicans would rather face potential rage from voters than that of one of their own.
Politics per usual, I guess.
So what if you didn’t vote in the March 2012 Primary? Or, like me, you voted on a Non-Partisan ballot? What if you wanted to run as an Independent for a local office, like County Board, for example? Well you could hire an attorney to tell you what this language (from the State Elections Code) means:
For offices elected by district, not less than 5%, nor more than 8% (or 50 more than the minimum, whichever is greater) of total number of votes cast at the preceding General Election for the county office voted on throughout such county for which the greatest total number of votes were cast for all candidates, divided by the number of districts, but in any event not less than 25 qualified voters of the district. (The actual number is compiled by the election authority.)
Or you could ask John Acardo, our elected County Clerk and Recorder, he’s the Election Authority!
Independent Candidate Circulation Period
It’s not too late to run for office! Under a new public law – if you did not run as a candidate in the March Primary, or vote in an established party’s Election; then you’re eligible to run for office as an independent!
Circulation began on March 27, 2012 and runs through the end of June, with the last date to file on June 25th, 2012. I encourage you to review the resources we have online at DeKalbClerk.com.
The Established Parties have until June 4, 2012 to ‘caucus’ or slate a candidate to a position that did not see a candidate at the Primary Election.
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