Updated 2:02 PM 3/20/2014
Anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman says he actually feels pretty good about his loss to incumbent Pat Quinn in Hardiman’s first try to become the governor of Illinois.
Quinn was the expected winner in the primary race Tuesday, but Hardiman says he’s proud that he was able to pull in more than 28 percent of the vote.
But that doesn’t mean he was comfortable with the results.
“Bottom line - the Democratic machine once again has failed the state,” Hardiman said, moments after the results rolled in Tuesday night. “And the machine continues to go with failed policies under Governor Quinn.”
And that’s why Hardiman is going after a write-in campaign.
Hardiman says venture capitalist Bruce Rauner, the GOP nominee for governor, is not a good choice for the people of Illinois, and Governor Quinn “has too many issues.”
So that lead me to ask - how does one become a write-in candidate in Illinois?
According to Jim Allen, a spokesman for the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners, the laws have evolved to make sure people don’t waste their votes on silly candidates.
“We don’t have to count ballots cast for screwball names or made up candidate names,” Allen said. “And there has to be a declaration of intent by the write-in candidate filed with each jurisdiction where they want their ballots counted.”
So that means Daffy Duck or Derrick Rose wouldn’t be counted, unless of course they filed ahead of time. But for those who really want to be a write-in, say, for the governor’s race in Illinois, Allen says potential candidates would have to notify 109 election authorities - or however many that the candidate expects to get write-in votes for.
Turns out, people are willing to put in the time for the big national or statewide races.
“They never want to start at alderman, or ward committeeman, or school board member in the suburbs,” Allen said. “They seem to like to file for the higher profile offices.”
Election lawyer Richard K. Means says the election laws are also meant to keep the ballot a reasonable length. But he says in a case like Tio Hardiman’s, there’s another regulation to be wary of: the “Sore Loser” law.
According to Means, Section 7-43 of the Illinois Election Code basically says you only get one chance to present yourself to the electorate.
“You can’t do what people used to do in Illinois before this law was passed, and that’s take a second bite of the apple and run as a member of a third party,” Means said.
Means says that section also means you can’t run again as a write-in in the general election after you lost in the primary.
And turns out, there's an even more specific statute that explicitly states write-in candidacy is a no-go for anyone who already ran and lost in a primary. The law states: "A candidate for whom a nomination paper has been filed as a partisan candidate at a primary election, and who is defeated for his or her nomination at the primary election is ineligible to file a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate for election in that general or consolidated election."
When I took this information to Hardiman, he says his people will continue digging into the details. And if a write-in run doesn’t work, he says he’s got other plans to stay in the game and represent his supporters: Plans like requesting meetings with Rauner and Quinn to talk state policy, and running someone against Rahm Emanuel in the Chicago mayoral election in 2015.
Lauren Chooljian is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @laurenchooljian
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