Monday was the last day for candidates to file for the June 28 primary ballot in Illinois.
There were no major surprises as the window closed, with no big names challenging Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker at the last minute. While Petersburg’s Jesse Sullivan received his petitions before the 5 p.m. deadline, the five top Republicans seeking their party’s gubernatorial nomination have filed for what is expected to be a contentious race.
The other GOP gubernatorial candidates — State Senator Darren Bailey, Aurora Mayor Richard Irvin, businessman Gary Rabine and former State Senator Paul Schimpf — submitted their paperwork there. a week ago.
Another last-minute reporter was Tom DeVore, the attorney responsible for the anti-masking lawsuits. He is running for Attorney General as a Republican.
Other candidates for the GOP nomination for attorney general are attorney Steve Kim, part of a Republican “Take It Back” ticket led by gubernatorial candidate Richard Irvin, and resident David Shestokas. of Orland Park, which seems to have a barebones operation.
Also, former Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin on Monday afternoon handed over paperwork to run for Cook County Council President against incumbent Toni Preckwinkle.
However, the matches are not final.
There is always the possibility that someone will be kicked out of the ballot. Campaigns don’t just need enough signatures from qualified voters, they need good signatures. There are even rules about how petitions must be stapled together or applicants risk disqualification.
State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) said Illinois is making it tough on purpose.
“It’s 100% about making sure people who have access to resources and campaign operations are one step ahead,” she said.
Cassidy proposes Illinois takes a new, more modern approach and follow Denver’s lead, where they use an electronic method to collect voter signatures.
“Which would remove so many of those steps, and more importantly remove the age-old Chicago tradition of trying to get your opponent kicked off the ballot because someone’s signature didn’t look like it did when they filled out the ( voter registration form) on the counter,” Cassidy said. “I often joke, when you register to vote, you write everything very neatly and neatly and your signature is your perfect calligraphic signature.”
Cassidy said collecting signatures electronically would reduce all that bureaucracy.
Here’s how it would work: Candidates who choose to participate would borrow tablet computers from election officials.
“You rent their equipment and collect your signatures. And it’s real time,” Cassidy said.
A candidate would approach a voter and ask if they are a registered voter in that riding. If the voter agrees to “make democracy solid,” as Cassidy puts it, and agrees to sign the petition, “I hand you my tablet instead of my clipboard. I just pulled you up in the voters file. You verify that it’s you, you check a box, you sign, it verifies that your signature is relatively the same – because we all know what we do on these electronic things too… and bada-bing, bada-boom .
Cassidy says that would mean election lawyers would lose business and incumbents like her would see more competition.
She said she was good with it.
“Access to the ballot is fundamental to a functioning democracy,” Cassidy said.
Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough is still unconvinced. Yarbrough said she was aware of the general parameters of the measure, but needed to know more before forming an opinion on whether she would support it.
“I’ve heard of it before, I want to see what it says, what it does,” Yarbrough said. “And cybersecurity? Things should be safe and secure.
Meanwhile, former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn is taking a different path that could accelerate the transition to electronic filings.
He wants a referendum question on the November 8 general election ballot asking voters if they want to change the state constitution, so the public can in the future use petitions or citizens’ initiatives to demand that lawmakers vote on ethical measures.
Quinn said that’s the best way to push ethics forward because lawmakers tend to stifle real change.
“What’s been happening in Illinois, really for half a century, is reform bills can be put in the hopper, but they’re never even voted on by members of the House or Senate. and we want to change that,” Quinn said. “We want to empower the ordinary person, the voter, the person who pays the taxes, to clean up the government and the only way to do that is at the ballot box. On their own, legislators are always going to come up with half-hearted reforms, and I think we need no frills reforms, real antidotes to the virus of corruption.
Quinn tried to do something similar before but was “blocked by former Speaker of the House Mike Madigan”.
Now that Madigan has been charged with corruption, Quinn wants to try again.
But the window to collect thousands of signatures to secure a referendum on the November ballot is short and he only has until early May.
Given that it’s still a pandemic, Quinn said voters should be able to sign an online petition that would put the issue of ethics on the ballot. He has already started collection of signatures online.
Quinn points out that people can sign forms to buy homes online, and taxes are filed online. Lawmakers have also passed rules that allow them to vote remotely.
“So politicians can give themselves that right, they should give it to ordinary people who petition for a cause we all believe in: clean government,” Quinn said. “It’s high time we put an end to corruption in Illinois and do it at the ballot box where voters tell politicians what the rules are.”
A virtual hearing is scheduled for March 30.
Cassidy’s bill did not advance with less than a month before the legislative session adjourned.
Follow Amanda Vinicky on Twitter: @amandavinicky