WBEZ | e2010 http://www.wbez.org/tags/e2010 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Election File Voting Guide: Down-ballot Illinois races http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-down-ballot-illinois-races <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-October/2010-10-28/topinka web.png" alt="" /><p><div style="text-align: center;"><img width="280" height="195" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-28/topinka web.png" alt="" title="" /></div><div style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: left;">By now you are no doubt well aware of the policy and stylistic differences between Gov. Pat Quinn and state Sen. Bill Brady. And let&rsquo;s just go out on a limb and say you&rsquo;ve heard all you need to hear about state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias&rsquo; &ldquo;mob loans&rdquo; and Congressman Mark Kirk&rsquo;s military record &ldquo;lies.&rdquo; But next Tuesday you&rsquo;ll be asked to weigh-in on a bunch of other races, as well &ndash; ones you may have heard little &ndash; or nothing, perhaps &ndash; about. Our bad. We only have so much air time to cover so many contested offices. But let&rsquo;s try to make up for it now, with this quick guide to some down-ballot races on the state level.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>We&rsquo;ve listed the candidates in alphabetical order, and included links to their campaign websites, money filings with the Illinois State Board of Elections and any endorsements they received from the <i>Chicago Tribune</i>, <i>Chicago Sun-Times</i> or <i>Daily Herald</i>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Attorney General</b></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>Two-term incumbent Democrat Lisa Madigan <a href="../../../../../../story/news/politics/madigan-explains-decision-stay-put">opted last summer not to run</a> for the U.S. Senate, or for governor. The daughter of Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan cited family concerns and a love for her current office. Republican Joe Birkett, the state&rsquo;s attorney of DuPage County, originally planned to challenge her, but <a href="../../../../../../story/news/politics/birkett-explains-decision-leave-ag-race">then thought better of it</a>. Madigan destroyed her challengers in a recent <i>Chicago Tribune</i> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/elections/ct-met-illinois-statewide-races-20101025,0,138025.story">poll</a>, and has swept the Chicago-area newspaper endorsements.</div> <blockquote><ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li>David Black of Belvidere, Green: <a href="http://www.blackforattorneygeneral.com/">website</a>, no money filing with state</li><li>Steve Kim of Northbrook, Republican: <a href="http://www.stevekimforag.com/">website</a>, <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateDetail.aspx?ID=24175">money</a></li><li>Lisa Madigan of Chicago, Democrat: <a href="http://www.lisamadigan.org/">website</a>, <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateDetail.aspx?ID=12953">money</a>, <i><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-statewide-20101011,0,6658378.story">Tribune<span style="font-style: normal;"> endorsement</span></a></i>, <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/endorsements/2810968,CST-EDT-edit18a.article"><i>Sun-Times</i> endorsement</a>, <i><a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20101018/discuss/710199933/">Daily Herald<span style="font-style: normal;"> endorsement</span></a></i>, interview</li><li>Bill Malan of Chicago, Libertarian: <a href="http://www.bill4ag.org/">website</a>, <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateDetail.aspx?ID=25107">money</a></li></ul></blockquote> <div><b>Secretary of State</b></div><p style="text-align: center;"><img width="280" height="195" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-28/white web.png" alt="" title="" /></p><div>Democrat Jesse White has been Secretary of State since 1999, when then-incumbent George Ryan ascended to the governor&rsquo;s mansion. He&rsquo;s running this year for a fourth term, and <a href="../../../../../../story/news/politics/jesse-white-running-re-election">has said it would likely to be his last one</a>. A recent <i>Chicago Tribune</i> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/elections/ct-met-illinois-statewide-races-20101025,0,138025.story">poll</a> found White more than 50 percentage points ahead of his closest challenger.</div> <blockquote><ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li>Robert Enriquez of Aurora, Republican: <a href="http://www.ilstatesec.com/">website</a>, <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateDetail.aspx?ID=24002">money</a></li><li>Josh Hanson of Wheaton, Libertarian: <a href="http://joshhanson2010.com/">website</a>, no money filing with state</li><li>Jesse White of Chicago, Democrat: <a href="http://www.jessewhite2010.com/home">website</a>, <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateDetail.aspx?ID=13211">money</a>, <i><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-statewide-20101011,0,6658378.story">Tribune<span style="font-style: normal;"> endorsement</span></a></i>, <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/endorsements/2810968,CST-EDT-edit18a.article"><i>Sun-Times</i> endorsement</a>, <i><a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20101018/discuss/710199931/">Daily Herald<span style="font-style: normal;"> endorsement</span></a></i></li></ul></blockquote> <div><i>Note:</i> The Green Party&rsquo;s slated candidate, Adrian Frost, withdrew from the race.</div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div><b>Comptroller</b></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>When Dan Hynes challenged Pat Quinn for the Democratic nomination for governor, he created a vacancy in the office that cuts the checks for the state of Illinois. This is an <a href="../../../../../../story/news/politics/illinois-billions-unpaid-bills-who-gets-paid-and-when">especially difficult job right now</a>, what with the state&rsquo;s checking account approaching dangerously low balances. The race to succeed Hynes is marked by the political return of Republican Judy Baar Topinka, who is a former state treasurer and 2006 Blagojevich casualty. She leads in the recent <i>Tribune</i> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/elections/ct-met-illinois-statewide-races-20101025,0,138025.story">poll</a> by more than 30 points.</div> <blockquote><ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li>Julie Fox of Dundee, Libertarian: <a href="http://www.foxforcomptroller.com/">website</a>, <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateDetail.aspx?ID=24093">money</a></li><li>David Miller of Lynwood, Democrat: <a href="http://www.davidmillerforillinois.com/">website</a>, <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateDetail.aspx?ID=24177">money</a></li><li>R. Erika Schafer of Chicago, Green: <a href="http://www.electerika2010.com/">website</a>, no money filing with state</li><li>Judy Baar Topinka of Riverside, Republican: <a href="http://www.judybaartopinka.com/">website</a>, <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateDetail.aspx?ID=24176">money</a>, <i><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-statewide-20101011,0,6658378.story">Tribune<span style="font-style: normal;"> endorsement</span></a></i>, <i><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/endorsements/2787528,CST-EDT-edit10a.article">Sun-Times<span style="font-style: normal;"> endorsement</span></a>, <a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20101018/discuss/710199935/">Daily Herald <span style="font-style: normal;">endorsement</span></a></i></li></ul></blockquote> <div><b>Treasurer</b></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>In 2006, Judy Baar Topinka left the treasurer&rsquo;s office in favor of a campaign for governor. Four years later, her successor, Democrat Alexi Giannoulias picked a campaign for the U.S. Senate over another four years as treasurer. With the office again up for grabs, Republican state Sen. Dan Rutherford is locked in a tight race against Democrat Robin Kelly, according to the recent <i>Chicago Tribune</i> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/elections/ct-met-illinois-statewide-races-20101025,0,138025.story">poll</a>. Kelly is the de-facto incumbent in this election, since she&rsquo;s served as Giannoulias&rsquo; chief of staff.</div> <blockquote><ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li>Robin Kelly of Matteson, Democrat: <a href="http://www.robinfortreasurer.com/">website</a>, <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateDetail.aspx?ID=23457">money</a>, <i><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/endorsements/2787530,CST-EDT-edit10b.article">Sun-Times<span style="font-style: normal;"> endorsement</span></a></i></li><li>James Pauly of Chicago, Libertarian: <a href="http://pauly4illinois.com/">website</a>, no money filing with state</li><li>Dan Rutherford of Chenoa, Republican: <a href="http://www.danrutherford.org/">website</a>, <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateDetail.aspx?ID=24178">money</a>, <i><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-statewide-20101011,0,6658378.story">Tribune<span style="font-style: normal;"> endorsement</span></a>, <a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20101018/discuss/710199929/">Daily Herald <span style="font-style: normal;">endorsement</span></a></i></li><li>Scott Summers of Harvard, Green: <a href="http://www.summersfortreasurer.org/">website</a>, <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateDetail.aspx?ID=25028">money</a></li></ul></blockquote> <div><b>Illinois General Assembly</b></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" style="width: 287px; height: 287px;" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-28/general assembly.png" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Democrats currently hold a 37 to 22 majority in the Illinois Senate. Republicans expect to narrow that gap, but even in their wildest dreams don&rsquo;t imagine taking control of the chamber. GOP leaders are dreaming, though, of grabbing the Speaker&rsquo;s gavel from Mike Madigan in the Illinois House. It won&rsquo;t be easy; they would need to pick up a net of 12 seats.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>If you don&rsquo;t know who represents you in the legislature, plug your address into the state board of elections&rsquo; <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/DistrictLocator/DistrictOfficialSearchByAddress.aspx">website</a>. Most candidates for the legislature will have a website. You can also see who&rsquo;s funding their campaigns <a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/CampaignDisclosure/CandidateSearch.aspx">here</a>, and read who the newspapers are endorsing (<i><a href="http://elections.chicagotribune.com/editorial/">Chicago Tribune</a>, <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/endorsements/2814930,sun-times-endorsements-101910.article">Chicago Sun-Times</a>, <a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20101027/discuss/710289957/">Daily Herald</a></i>).</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><strong>Still to come</strong></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>This is the third installment of our general election voting guides. Here are the others:</div> <blockquote><ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li><b>Tuesday:</b> <a href="../../../../../../blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-should-i-%E2%80%98retain%E2%80%99-these-judges-or-boot-them">judicial elections</a></li><li><b>Wednesday: </b><a href="../../../../../../blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-blagojevich-inspired-constitutional-amendment">proposed constitutional amendment on recall</a></li><li><b>Today:</b> down-ballot Illinois races</li><li><b>Friday:</b> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-cook-county%E2%80%99s-down-ballot-races">down-ballot Cook County races</a></li><li><b>Next Monday:</b> what to do if you don&rsquo;t like any of the candidates</li></ul></blockquote></p> Thu, 28 Oct 2010 18:40:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-down-ballot-illinois-races Illinois' longshot candidates: Who are they and why do they bother? http://www.wbez.org/story/angel-garcia/illinois-longshot-candidates-who-are-they-and-why-do-they-bother <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-27/gop web.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>You've heard of Lisa Madigan, no doubt. But have you heard of Steve Kim? You may know who David Orr is. But what about Angel Garcia? Those names you probably didn't recognize - they're on the ballot next week in Cook County and Illinois.&nbsp;But - excuse us for being frank - those candidates stand next to no chance of winning.</p><p>So what motivates them to challenge the odds? Why do they bother? To find out, we talked to some candidates who are longshots - or once were.<br /><br />Last weekend, Dan Rutherford was greeted a bit like a celebrity when he walked into a sparsely-furnished second floor office in Chicago&rsquo;s East Side neighborhood.</p><p>A Republican state senator from Chenoa, about two hours southwest of Chicago, Rutherford is a candidate for state treasurer.</p><p>RUTHERFORD: The people in Illinois - all the way from this 10th Ward, to the county of Cook, clear to deep Southern Illinois - they're mad.</p><p>Rutherford rallied the dozen or so local volunteers who would be passing out Republican campaign literature later in the day.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>He stood alongside 3 other Republican candidates - Angel Garcia running for Cook County clerk, Isaac Hayes for Congress, and Steve Kim, on the ballot for Illinois attorney general.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>RUTHERFORD: Is it alright with you guys, if I ask all of them to vote for the four of us?<em> (laughter)</em> Alright. We have a unanimous decision.</p><p>But unlike Rutherford, who is in a competitive race for treasurer against Democrat Robin Kelly, the three other Republicans at this small rally don't have much of a chance of winning. They are longshots. They know it. Rutherford knows it.</p><p>RUTHERFORD: Yup, it's an uphill battle. It's going to be really tough. But having gone through one of those myself, I appreciated it when someone I felt knew what they was doing would embrace me, encourage me, congratulate me for something good and to kind of give me the pat on the back.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Rutherford is referring to his own &quot;uphill battle&quot; four years ago, when he ran for Secretary of State against Jesse White. This year, he's got newspaper endorsements, raised a lot of money, and is running TV commercials.&nbsp;But back then, Jesse White crushed him by more than a million votes.&nbsp;That campaign, though, allowed Rutherford to introduce himself to voters, meet reporters and local leaders, basically - learn how to run a statewide campaign.</p><p>RUTHERFORD: Because now, when Dan Rutherford from central Illinois comes in to and talks on Korean radio - okay - and I was just there a couple days ago. When I go in and do Korean radio, it's like, 'Oh, senator, you're back again. Thank you.' So there's a familiarity that has come about because of that.</p><p>Rutherford has shared his experiences with Steve Kim, a lawyer and former aide to Governor Jim Edgar whose only elected office was as a trustee for Northbrook Township. He entered a race that no other Republican in Illinois dared enter - to challenge the incumbent attorney general, Lisa Madigan.</p><p>KIM: I think I have ideas and the background and experience that can help improve the lives of the people of this state. And that doesn't stop November 2nd. So the voters and the people of Illinois haven't heard the last of me.&nbsp;</p><p>Even though he's thinking beyond the election, Kim - like every candidate I talk to - says he's in this race to win it. But do they really believe it, and if so, how?&nbsp;Maybe there's some academic field that studies this stuff - perhaps a combination of political science and psychology.</p><p>KROSNICK: I am a political psychologist. So that means I study the psychology of political behavior.</p><p>And we have our expert. Jon Krosnick is with Stanford University. He heads up the political psychology institute there, and says there's a good reason these candidates say they're in it to win it. Because, he says, at least to some extent,&nbsp; they are.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>KROSNICK: We are all optimistic, by nature. That we cannot make it from day to day unless we live with what psychologists call positive illusions. And the idea that a candidate running says, 'Well, I could win,' you know that's not completely unreasonable.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>But longshot candidates don't all jump in the race for the same reasons, Krosnick says.&nbsp;He divides them into two categories.</p><p>KROSNICK: The first is that young candidates who are planning a long career in politics realize that the first time they run, they're not very well known, they're not very experienced and connected. But they've got to get their feet in the water in order to get a sense of how the process works and to begin to develop a reputation.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>So that's the first group. Longshot candidates in the second category, Professor Krosnick says, are motivated by message.&nbsp;For example, Ross Perot in his presidential campaigns. He mostly wanted to get a stage - in political debates or campaign commercials - to influence the issues and maybe get a bit of attention.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>KROSNICK: It's a very effective way of getting into a spotlight for a sustained period of time and getting lots of discussion about a particular philosophy.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Not all candidates, though, think they fall into Krosnick's two categories.</p><p>WALLS: I'm probably in that third category which is a person with a message who's watched sports and watched politics and I've seen the improbable become possible.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Bill &quot;Dock&quot; Walls is a community activist from Chicago who's launched campaigns in the past for Congress, for city clerk, for mayor, for governor, and now - again - for mayor.</p><p>HUDZIK: Is there a risk that you just get this label, perennial candidate, and then you're not taken seriously?<br /><br />WALLS: No. You know, the media would love to label me a perennial candidate. But most people in the African American community, most people in the progressive community, many people in the Latino community, don't even know what perennial means and they don't care. We teach our children if at first you don't succeed, try, try again. So when people speak of me they speak of me as someone who's undaunted and willing to take on the challenges.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>As Walls reminds me, longshot candidates sometimes - not often, perhaps - but sometimes, they win. And there is, I acknowledge, a <em>Catch-2</em>2 in my even labelling someone a longshot candidate.&nbsp;Those labels stick, reinforcing the idea that underdogs like Bill &quot;Dock&quot; Walls cannot possibly win. That doesn't exactly help a campaign attract volunteers or donations.</p><p>But candidates like Steve Kim have a plan for when reporters ask about their longshot status.</p><p>KIM: I stick to my message. And I stick to the positives. I stick to my background and experience, and I stick to what I'm going to do when I'm the state's next attorney general. Everyone else that wants to talk about an 'uphill battle,' I can't stop them from that.</p><p>A <em>Chicago Tribune</em> poll released this week shows Kim trailing Lisa Madigan by nearly 50-points.&nbsp;Regardless, Madigan a few weeks ago started playing T-V ads about her record.&nbsp;&nbsp;No matter why Madigan decided to spend money on ads, it makes Steve Kim a little proud.</p><p>After all, his opponent may be ignoring him, but at least she isn't ignoring the election.</p></p> Thu, 28 Oct 2010 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/angel-garcia/illinois-longshot-candidates-who-are-they-and-why-do-they-bother One day left for early voting in Illinois http://www.wbez.org/story/e2010/one-day-left-early-voting-illinois <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-27/seal web.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Thursday is the final day for early voting in Illinois ahead of next Tuesday's election. More than two weeks in to the early voting season, more than 120,000 Chicago and suburban Cook County voters have taken advantage of it.<br /> <br /> Election officials stress it's hard to compare these totals to previous elections. The numbers this year are already more than double the early turnout from the last election for governor - 2006, though that was the first year Illinois had early voting. The numbers are way behind those from 2008, but that's expected given that was a presidential year.<br /> <br /> Regardless, there are nearly 100 early voting locations across the county and they're accepting voters through tomorrow. The top neighborhood site in Chicago is a police station in the Morgan Park neighborhood on the far South Side. The <a href="http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections/earlyvoting/Pages/earlyvotingtotals.aspx">busiest suburban Cook County location</a> is in Orland Park at the village hall.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 27 Oct 2010 20:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/e2010/one-day-left-early-voting-illinois The Election File Voting Guide: A Blagojevich-inspired constitutional amendment http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-blagojevich-inspired-constitutional-amendment <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-October/2010-10-26/quinnblagoweb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/quinnblagoweb.jpg" style="width: 420px; height: 315px;" /></p><p>Yesterday we looked at those often-overlooked <a href="http://wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-should-i-%E2%80%98retain%E2%80%99-these-judges-or-boot-them">elections for judges in Illinois</a>. Today we look at a question on the ballot that&rsquo;s also flown a bit under the radar this year: recall.</p><p>Voters are being asked whether they want to amend the Illinois Constitution to allow governors to be recalled &ndash; that is, removed from office before their terms are up. We delved into this issue in a recent <a href="http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=44776">radio story</a>, but here are the basics:</p><p><b>The question</b></p><p>This is how the recall amendment will show up on your ballot:</p><blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">The proposed amendment, which takes effect upon approval by the voters, adds a new section to the Suffrage and Elections Article of the Illinois Constitution. The new section would provide the State's electors with an option to petition for a special election to recall a Governor and for the special election of a successor Governor. At the general election to be held on November 2, 2010, you will be called upon to decide whether the proposed amendment should become part of the Illinois Constitution.</div><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">&nbsp;</div><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">If you believe the Illinois Constitution <u>should be amended</u> to provide for a special election to recall a Governor and for a special election to elect a successor Governor, you should vote &ldquo;<b>YES&rdquo;</b> on the question. If you believe the Illinois Constitution <u>should not be amended</u> to provide for a special election to recall a Governor and for a special election to elect a successor Governor, you should vote &ldquo;<b>NO&rdquo; </b>on the question. Three-fifths of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election must vote &ldquo;YES&rdquo; in order for the amendment to become effective.</div></blockquote> <div><b>How it would work</b></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>If the proposed amendment passes, this is how the recall process would work:&nbsp;</div> <blockquote><ol type="1" start="1" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li>A citizen or group of citizens gets mad and decides to try to recall the governor.</li><li>The recall proponents get 10 state senators and 20 state representatives to sign on to an affidavit in support of recall. This needs to be a bipartisan effort, with no more than half the signatures from members of any given party. The affidavit is then filed with the state board of elections.</li><li>The circulators have 150 days to collect what will amount to several hundred thousand signatures. The exact number is 15-percent of the total votes cast in the previous election for governor. To ensure geographic diversity, the petition will need at least 100 signatures from each of at least 25 Illinois counties.</li><li>Within 100 days after the petition is turned in, the election board must determine whether enough signatures were collected. If all is good, the state has another 100 days to hold a special election for the recall of the governor.</li><li>Candidates for governor will appear on the ballot at the same time voters decide whether to recall the sitting governor. This will act as the primary election.</li><li>If the governor is recalled, the lieutenant governor will take over, and an election with the primary winners will be held within 60 days. The winner serves out the remainder of the recalled governor&rsquo;s term.</li></ol></blockquote> <div><b>The proponents</b></div><p>Gov. Pat Quinn often touts the recall proposal among his accomplishments during the &ldquo;year of reform&rdquo; he says occurred following Rod Blagojevich&rsquo;s arrest. On the evening that the verdicts were returned in the Blagojevich case, Quinn laid out his argument in favor of the recall amendment:</p><blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">We must be vigilant. We must make sure that we strengthen the people. That&rsquo;s why I believe in the power of recall. That voters, when they see a public official &ndash; such as a governor &ndash; betraying the public trust, that the voters have the power by petition and recall referendum to remove that person from office before his or her term is up. We will have on our ballot in Illinois this year a chance for the voters &ndash; for the first time in our history &ndash; to vote for a recall amendment in our constitution. I believe in recall. I think that the events of the past years, the past decade, underline the need for recall in Illinois.</div></blockquote> <div><b>The critics</b></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Some critics &ndash; although on this issue there are <a href="http://ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/96/senate/09600HC0031_10152009_001000T.pdf">not</a> <a href="http://ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/96/house/09600HC0031_05302009_050000A.pdf">many</a> in the General Assembly &ndash; object to the very idea of recall. State Rep. Barbara Flynn Currie is the second-ranking Democrat in the House. Currie has a long list of the problems she thinks recall could bring to Illinois:</div> <blockquote><ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li><i>Recall efforts could be launched by special interests: </i>&ldquo;Millionaires or deep-pocket special interest groups are usually the ones that spearhead the idea of putting a recall motion on the ballot.&rdquo;</li><li><i>Recall efforts could be launched by political losers:</i> &ldquo;It really gives a second bite &ndash; or maybe a third or a fourth bite &ndash; at the apple to the people who lost the last time there was an election.</li><li><i>Politicians could become more poll-driven:</i> &ldquo;If you're worried about recall, and you would be if recall is an option, you might be more driven by public opinion than by the backbone that the people hope you will show when you are in office than otherwise.&rdquo;</li><li><i>Reasons for recall aren&rsquo;t fully spelled out in the amendment:</i> &ldquo;You can recall someone because you don't like the way he brushes his hair.&rdquo;</li><li><i>Governors already face regular elections every four years: </i>&ldquo;By the time you get around to counting a recall, the chances are good it&rsquo;s time for another election.</li><li><i>Governors can already be removed:</i> &ldquo;In cases of serious abuse, serious violations of the public trust, we have impeachment,&rdquo; which Currie calls &ldquo;a faster solution than recall ever would be.&rdquo;</li></ul></blockquote> <div style="text-align: center;"><img height="300" width="300" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/general assembly.png" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>There are others, like state Rep. Dave Winters, who support the idea of recall, but think the proposal on the ballot is so watered down that&rsquo;s it&rsquo;s not even worth it. Winters (who voted for the bill in the Illinois House, but now says he&rsquo;ll vote against it at the polling place) objects to the requirement that a bipartisan group of state lawmakers sign on to the recall proposal. He also thinks voters should have the option of recalling all statewide officials and members of the General Assembly. &nbsp;&ldquo;I don't really think it moves the state very far forward,&quot; he told me. &ldquo;If this fails, it gives us the opportunity to come back and hope that we can get a stronger recall amendment in the next General Assembly.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><b>The rebuttal</b></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>Quinn, long a supporter of recall, dismisses the complaints. He says the requirement that a bipartisan group of legislators sign a recall affidavit is part of a &ldquo;reasonable process.&rdquo;</div> <blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">By no means is it a majority of legislators, as it would be in a process like&hellip;impeachment. It&rsquo;s a more political process, where&hellip;the voters decide the final verdict. However, I think the proposal that is going to be on the ballot makes sure that recall will be used seriously and not frivolously. It should be only used in those dire circumstances where there&rsquo;s a real question whether the incumbent is betraying the public&rsquo;s trust. It should not be used as a political tool against somebody.</div></blockquote> <div><b>But is it an <em>unconstitutional </em>constitutional amendment?</b></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>The ACLU of Illinois says it started looking at the proposed amendment a few weeks ago when it started getting calls. Turns out, the ACLU argues, this proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution actually violates the U.S Constitution.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The group&rsquo;s legal director, Harvey Grossman, says he has no problem with recall in general. But he says the way Illinois&rsquo; proposed amendment is written, it would give more of a say to voters in less-populated counties. That&rsquo;s because of the bolded portion (below) of the amendment:</div> <blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">The recall of the Governor may be proposed by a 15 petition signed by a number of electors equal in number to at 16 least 15% of the total votes cast for Governor in the preceding 17 gubernatorial election, <b>with at least 100 signatures from each 18 of at least 25 separate counties.</b></div></blockquote> <div>Grossman says that requirement is &ldquo;unconstitutional and unfair.&rdquo;</div> <blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">The [U.S.] Supreme Court long ago established the doctrine of &lsquo;one person, one vote.&rsquo; But in Illinois, under that proposed constitutional amendment, voters who live in less-populous counties will have their signatures on a petition for recall count more than persons who sign and live more populous counties.</div></blockquote> <div>Grossman explains further that the 24 most-populous counties in Illinois make up about 84 percent of the registered voters in Illinois. But they alone couldn&rsquo;t advance the proposal without 100 signatures from one of the 78 smaller counties. Meanwhile, those 78 counties, representing far less of the state&rsquo;s population, could advance a recall without any support at all from the most-populous 24 counties. Bottom-line, Grossman says, &ldquo;84 percent of the electorate in 24 counties can&rsquo;t do &ndash; under the signature requirement &ndash; what 16-percent of the voters can do in 78 counties.&rdquo; And that, he says, is unconstitutional.</div><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="225" width="300" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/franksweb.jpg" /></p><div>I called the sponsor of the recall proposal to see what he thinks of the ACLU&rsquo;s concern. State Rep. Jack Franks, a Democrat from Marengo:</div> <blockquote><div style="margin-left: 0.5in;">I&rsquo;m not sure they&rsquo;re right. Then again I&rsquo;m not sure they&rsquo;re wrong. And I&rsquo;d hate to see a court have to decide that. Nonetheless, I&rsquo;m encouraging everyone to vote for it. I think the voters need to be heard &ndash; the citizens need to be heard &ndash; that we need a recall amendment. And my goal all along was to have a much broader recall amendment - one that included all the constitutional officers as well as all the members of the General Assembly. So I think if we have a resounding &lsquo;yes&rsquo; vote on this, it would give me more power in the General Assembly to pass a more sweeping recall bill that we can put on the ballot next time, as well. So I&rsquo;m asking people to vote for it to show their support for recall.</div></blockquote> <div><b>The newspaper editorial boards are split</b></div> <blockquote><ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li><i>Chicago</i><i> Tribune</i>: <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-10-11/news/ct-edit-recall-20101011_1_lawmakers-amendment-election">Yes on recall</a></li><li><i>Chicago</i><i> Sun-Times</i>: <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/endorsements/2821762,CST-EDT-edit21.article">Recall amendment more harm than good</a></li><li><i>Daily Herald</i>:<a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20101013/discuss/710149879/">Recall:Approve it and rarely use it</a></li></ul></blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 27 Oct 2010 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-blagojevich-inspired-constitutional-amendment The Election File Voting Guide: Should I ‘retain’ these judges, or boot them? http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-should-i-%E2%80%98retain%E2%80%99-these-judges-or-boot-them <p><p><title></title></p><div>Among the long list of elected officials Illinois voters will be asked to select this year are the judges. Yeah &ndash; we know &ndash; many of you skip over this part of the ballot. But there are <a href="http://blogs.vocalo.org/shudzik/2010/02/%E2%80%98the-election-file%E2%80%99-voting-guide-do-i-really-have-to-vote-for-judges/13655" title="http://blogs.vocalo.org/shudzik/2010/02/%E2%80%98the-election-file%E2%80%99-voting-guide-do-i-really-have-to-vote-for-judges/13655">good reasons not to do that</a>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>First, the basics: you will be asked to elect judges to fill vacancies (although in Cook County, at least, most of those are uncontested races), and you will be asked whether to &ldquo;retain&rdquo; judges already on the bench.</div><p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img height="225" width="300" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-25/seal web.jpg" alt="" /></p><div><b>Doing your homework on retention judges</b></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>To keep their jobs, judges need to win 60-percent of the vote on November 2nd. Sixty-eight judges are seeking retention, though the ballot will show you 69. That&rsquo;s because one judge originally planning to seek retention is no longer doing so: Supreme Court Justice Thomas Fitzgerald, <a href="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=44411" title="http://www.chicagopublicradio.org/Content.aspx?audioID=44411">who is retiring</a>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>So without knowing a whole lot about these judges and their records, how do you decide whether to vote YES or NO on retention? The Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice maintains a website, <a href="http://www.voteforjudges.org/" title="http://www.voteforjudges.org/">VoteForJudges.org</a>, which compiles scorecards put out by various bar associations. Here&rsquo;s a quick rundown of the recommendations for Cook County judges: <br /><blockquote><ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li><a href="http://www.voteforjudges.org/" title="http://www.voteforjudges.org/">Judicial Performance Commission</a>: Recommends all judges be retained, except for Dorothy F. Jones, Jeffrey Lawrence and Susan J. McDunn.</li><li><a href="http://www.chicagobar.org/AM/NavigationMenu/Home/Files/2010NovemberFullBooklet.pdf" title="http://www.chicagobar.org/AM/NavigationMenu/Home/Files/2010NovemberFullBooklet.pdf">Chicago Bar Association</a>: Finds these judges NOT qualified for retention:&nbsp; Dorothy F. Jones, Susan J. McDunn, William D. O&rsquo;Neal, and Jim Ryan.</li><li><a href="http://www.voteforjudges.org/judicial_evaluation_report_for_the_CCL_2010.pdf" title="http://www.voteforjudges.org/judicial_evaluation_report_for_the_CCL_2010.pdf">Chicago Council of Lawyers</a>: Finds the following judges NOT qualified for retention: Laurence J. Dunford, Dorothy F. Jones, Jeffrey Lawrence, Susan J. McDunn, Patrick T. Murphy, William D. O&rsquo;Neal, Jim Ryan and John D. Turner, Jr.</li><li><strong><span style="font-weight: normal;"><a href="http://www.voteforjudges.org/2010_General_Election.pdf" title="http://www.voteforjudges.org/2010_General_Election.pdf">Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening</a>: A combination chart of ratings from eleven bar associations.</span></strong></li></ul></blockquote></div> <div>And the newspapers&rsquo; editorial boards have also weighed-in:&nbsp;<blockquote><ul type="disc" style="margin-top: 0in;"><li><i><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-cookjudges-20101008,0,2374404.story" title="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-cookjudges-20101008,0,2374404.story">Chicago Tribune</a></i>: Endorsed all Cook County judges for retention except for Dorothy F. Jones, Susan J. McDunn, William D. O&rsquo;Neal and Jim Ryan.</li><li><i><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/endorsements/2818030,CST-EDT-edit20.article" title="http://www.suntimes.com/news/elections/endorsements/2818030,CST-EDT-edit20.article">Chicago Sun-Times</a></i>: Endorsed all Cook judges for retention except for Dorothy F. Jones, Susan J. McDunn and Jim Ryan.</li></ul></blockquote></div><p>On Friday and over the weekend, I called the <a title="http://www.cookcountycourt.org/about/index.html" href="http://www.cookcountycourt.org/about/index.html" mce_href="http://www.cookcountycourt.org/about/index.html">chambers</a> of each judge who got an unfavorable recommendation, and left a&nbsp;message. Calling me back first was Patrick T. Murphy, who received a &quot;not qualified&quot; rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers. Ironically, &quot;the only bar association I belong to is the Chicago Council of Lawyers,&quot; Murphy told me. &quot;I have enormous respect for them.&quot;</p> <p>The council wrote of Murphy, &quot;Some say that he fails to follow the law, ruling in a way that he believes is correct.&quot; Murphy says he considers the second half of that sentence to be &quot;a great compliment,&quot; and notes that Illinois divorce law allows him the latitude to consider a number of factors when ruling on a case. He says he doesn't understand the poor rating from the council, but thinks it originated with some disgruntled divorce attorneys.</p><p><b> </b></p> <p><b>UPDATE:</b> Likewise, Judge Laurence Dunford blames his &quot;not qualified&quot; rating from the Chicago Council of Lawyers on lawyers who didn't get their way. Dunford says he has a &quot;difficult&quot; assignment as a supervising judge that requires him to move cases along quickly. &quot;Lawyers sometimes allow cases to be put on the back-burner and don&rsquo;t like it when a judge calls them task.&quot; He guesses the attorneys who complained about him&nbsp; &quot;were upset because I did not give them what they wanted. I don&rsquo;t know. But my obligation is to have cases go to trial&hellip;and sometimes that creates conflicts with lawyers.&quot;</p><p><strong>All judges likely to keep their jobs</strong></p><p>Worth noting: despite the efforts of the bar associations to defeat judges they say are unfit for the bench, sitting judges rarely lose. Here is the Appleseed Fund for Justice&rsquo;s Malcolm Rich:&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><div>&ldquo;Since the 1960s, there have been 14 judges that have not been retained in Cook County. So in general, judges are always &ndash; or nearly always &ndash; retained. Because in Cook County while there have been 14 that have not been retained throughout the history of our retention process, there have been no judges that have been not retained since 1990.&rdquo;</div></blockquote> <div><b>A political action committee, of sorts, for judges</b></div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>And at least one group wants to keep that streak alive. Every judge seeking retention in Cook County has the support <span style="color: navy;">of </span>the <a href="http://www.cookcountyjudges.com/index.html" title="http://www.cookcountyjudges.com/index.html">Committee for Retention of Judges in Cook County</a>. Of course, the very purpose of the group is to retain these judges, and those up for retention have (nearly) all contributed $1000 to it this year. So bragging about that endorsement is a bit like Pat Quinn boasting that he has the complete support of the group Taxpayers for Quinn.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><img height="200" width="138" title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-25/edwashington.jpg" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Judge Ed Washington II chairs the public relations committee of the judge&rsquo;s committee. Here he is explaining why Cook County voters should retain all the judges on the ballot this year:</div> <blockquote><div>&quot;We seek the voters out there to retain all the judges because we look at the tested and collective experience of all these judges. And we feel that we have been committed to doing a good job. The circuit court of Cook County takes about 2.4-million filings a year. And the judges that are up for retention have been doing that job for at least one term, if not some of them two or three six-year terms. And we&rsquo;ve been evaluated by a lot of groups, we make decisions that are very important and we&rsquo;re dedicated to our work. And in order to have an independent and fair and impartial judiciary, we need the people&rsquo;s support.&quot;</div></blockquote> <div>I pointed out to Washington that not all of those groups that have evaluated Cook County&rsquo;s judges have found them all to be good enough to keep on the job. I asked him why voters should listen to a group funded in part by the judges themselves, instead of the bar associations.</div> <blockquote><div>&ldquo;I think people should check out a number of sources &ndash; and whatever sources that they are comfortable with - in making their decision to vote on judges. I don&rsquo;t advocate that you don&rsquo;t look and make your own informed decision. But if you consider the type of work we do, the number of cases that we have and how the courts have functioned over time, there&rsquo;s no way you&rsquo;re going to have an independent judiciary with integrity and they&rsquo;re not going to be some decisions at some point that either some people or some entities or organizations disagree with.&rdquo;</div></blockquote><div>Washington&rsquo;s group is funded, as I mentioned, by the judges themselves. But it also accepts outside donations, the majority of which come from lawyers and law firms. Washington denies that presents any conflict of interest. (Others, like the <a href="http://www.ilcampaign.org/issues/public-financing" title="http://www.ilcampaign.org/issues/public-financing">Illinois Campaign for <span style="color: windowtext; text-decoration: none;"><span title="http://www.ilcampaign.org/issues/public-financing">Political</span></span> Reform</a>, disagree, and call for public funding of judicial elections.)</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><b>Elections contests that aren&rsquo;t (for the most part) contested</b></div> <div><b>&nbsp;</b></div> <div>In addition to judges seeking to be retained, voters will be asked about judges looking to be elected for the first time, and those going for a promotion. Across Cook County, there are 24 of these judges running in the general election. All but one is uncontested, because the GOP and Green Party basically sit out these elections. The exception is a circuit court vacancy, in which Maureen Masterson Pulia, a Republican, is running against Democrat Daniel J. Gallagher. Most bar associations find both candidates to be qualified, though the <i><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-cookjudges-20101008,0,2374404.story" title="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-cookjudges-20101008,0,2374404.story">Tribune<span title="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/editorials/ct-edit-cookjudges-20101008,0,2374404.story"><span style="font-style: normal;"> favors Gallagher</span></span></a></i>.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div style="text-align: center;"><img height="210" width="150" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-25/Pucinskiweb.jpg" alt="" title="" /></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The other 23 races were, in essence, decided back in February. Take, for example, former Cook County Clerk of Court Aurelia Pucinski, who&rsquo;s been a judge since 2004. She wanted to move up the ladder, and in February won the Democratic nomination for an appellate court vacancy. Pucincki was not the favorite candidate of most bar groups. The Chicago Bar association, in its primary election scorecard, wrote, &ldquo;Judge Pucinski is well regarded for her diligence and work ethic, but lacks the depth and breadth of legal knowledge to serve as an Appellate Court Justice.&rdquo; Nonetheless, Pucinski &ndash; who&rsquo;s the daughter of the late Congressman Roman Pucinski &ndash; won the five-person primary. And with no Republican or Green Party nominee seeking the seat on the November ballot, Pucinski&rsquo;s going to win. Once again, Marlcolm Rich:</div> <blockquote><div>&ldquo;There is very little [for a voter] to do. Judge Pucinski will be elected to the Illinois Appellate Court because of the system that we have. And we only hope that she can become a better appellate justice than the bar groups think that she will be. But the bottom line is that in all these uncontested races &ndash; judicial races &ndash; those judges that you see, qualified or not qualified, will become judges.&rdquo;</div></blockquote> <div>For her part, Pucinksi insists she's ready for the promotion.</div><blockquote><div>&quot;In those reports from the bar groups, they all complimented my work ethic, and gave me high praise for my work ethic - everyone knows that I am a hard worker - and for knowing the law. So I am confident that I can do the job. I look forward to it. I like the give-and-take of trial work, but I like the brainiac part - the research and writing part of it - too. And I am very excited about the opportunity to serve this community at the appellate court.&quot;</div></blockquote><div>And even though she doesn't have a general election opponent, Pucinski says she's still been out campaigning. 'I've been pretty aggressive in this campaign for someone who doesn't have opposition, because I want people to know that I'm really, sincerely, asking for their vote.&quot;</div></p> Tue, 26 Oct 2010 18:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/election-file-voting-guide-should-i-%E2%80%98retain%E2%80%99-these-judges-or-boot-them Nearly 70 Judges Seek Retention in Cook County http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-appleseed-fund-justice/retention-0 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-25/seal web.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Voters next week in Illinois will be asked whether they want to re-hire a bunch of judges, including 68 in Cook County.</p><p>After a judge is first elected, he or she never again has to face an opponent.</p><p>&quot;At the end of each term, a judge has to run essentially against himself or herself,&quot; says Malcolm Rich with the <a href="http://www.chicagoappleseed.org/">Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice</a>, which tries to educate voters about judicial elections. He explains they are often as simple as, &quot;Shall Judge X be retained as a judge?&quot;<br /><br />Judges need 60-percent approval from voters to stay on the bench. In Cook County they almost always get it. According to Rich, &quot;There have been no judges that have not been retained since 1990.&quot;<br /><br />Judge Ed Washington wants that streak to continue. He is on <a href="http://www.cookcountyjudges.com/index.html">a committee</a> - funded mostly by lawyers, law firms and the judges themselves - that's trying to retain all Cook County judges. Washington says they're all experienced, and cautions voters, &quot;You don't want to make an error - if you will - as an electorate - and get rid of a good judge just based on a single issue.&quot;<br /><br /><a href="http://www.voteforjudges.org/">Lawyers groups</a>, though, say there are a handful of bad judges, and are asking voters to remove them from the bench.</p></p> Tue, 26 Oct 2010 17:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-appleseed-fund-justice/retention-0 ACLU: Illinois' recall proposal is unconstitutional http://www.wbez.org/story/aclu/aclu-illinois-recall-proposal-unconstitutional <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2010-October/2010-10-22/franksweb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A group in Illinois said a proposed amendment to the state constitution would actually violate the U.S. Constitution.<br /> <br /> The <a href="http://www.wbez.org/Content.aspx?audioID=44776">proposed amendment</a>, if approved by voters, would give them the power to recall a governor from office. The issue involves a requirement that said a recall petition must be signed by at least 100 people from each of at least 25 Illinois counties.<br /> <br /> The <a href="http://www.aclu-il.org/index.shtml">American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois</a> said that requirement is unconstitutional because some Illinois counties have far fewer residents than others. So, a signature from someone living in a less-populated county carries a lot more weight than one from someone living in bigger one, like Cook County. That would violate the doctrine of one person, one vote, according to the ACLU.<br /> <br /> <a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=09600HC0031&amp;GA=96&amp;SessionId=76&amp;DocTypeId=HJRCA&amp;LegID=48161&amp;DocNum=0031&amp;GAID=10&amp;Session=">State Rep. Jack Franks sponsored</a> the recall amendment in the Illinois House.&nbsp;&nbsp;He said he is not sure whether the ACLU is right or wrong, but is nonetheless urging voters to okay the amendment. Franks said that would give him more of a mandate to amend it later, and expand recall to include other elected officials besides just the governor.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 22 Oct 2010 20:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/aclu/aclu-illinois-recall-proposal-unconstitutional