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The Chicago Way is to Deny Voters a Choice at the Polls by Jay Stone

Sixty Percent of State Legislative Candidates from Chicago Ran Unopposed The way the Chicago machine churns out votes and victories is unconstitutional and unAmerican. The Chicago machine can't deny citizens their right to vote because election fraud of this kind is too obvious. Instead the Chicago political mafia devised a more devious and subtle way to maintain its death grip on the City of Chicago and state of Illinois politics. The machine put its people in charge of elections to keep candidates who are unaffiliated with the machine from appearing on the ballot. In the elections between 2004 and 2010, Chicago voters had two options in 60% of the state representative and state senate races: either vote for the machine candidate or not vote at all. The machine's philosophy is, "You have your right to vote as long as you vote for one of ours." The Chicago Board of Elections (CBOE) and the Illinois General Assembly who empowered the CBOE are responsible for so many state legislative candidates running unopposed. The machine's legislators in the state capitol passed a law to deliberately give the CBOE a disproportionate number of state representative and state senator elections to conduct and certify. There is a reason why the machine wants the CBOE to conduct as many elections as possible; a third generation machine politician named Langdon Neal is the CBOE chairman. Neal's law firm has received over $100 million in suspicious no-bid city contracts and Neal himself has collected over $11 million in fees to lobby the same politicians whose elections he conducted and certified. When non-machine state legislative candidates file to run against machine candidates, Neal and his CBOE underlings apply election laws created by machine legislators to deny non-machine candidates ballot access. In other words, Illinois state legislators protect their jobs with anti-competition election laws that they wrote and passed. Neal has earned an estimated income of $30 to $40 million off of taxpayers during his 16 years as CBOE chairman. Neal has a huge, personal financial incentive to use his CBOE authority to rule in favor of machine politicians because the elected officials Neal certified to hold office are steering no-bid contracts his way and provide cozy lobbying relationships for him and his clients. Chicago's population of 2.7 million people comprises 21% of the 12.9 million Illinois residents. And yet, the CBOE is in charge of 34% of the state representative and state senator elections (60 state legislative districts under CBOE authority divided by 177 total Illinois state legislative districts = 34%). The corruption that starts at the top of the CBOE with Chairman Neal's suspicious no-bid contracts and lobbying business ends with the machine candidates running unopposed 60% of the time. The CBOE's systematic denial of non-machine candidates' ballot access is one of the main reasons why Chicago Democrat Michael Madigan has remained Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives for 27 years in spite of Illinois being in the worst financial shape of any state in the nation. CBOE Denial of Candidates' Ballot Access Comes from State Law There are two main state laws that expanded the CBOE's authority to deny ballot access to non-machine candidates. The first law gave the CBOE the right conduct and certify elections when only part of state legislative district is in Chicago. If a portion of a ward or even a part of a precinct is in Chicago, a state law (See 10 ILCS 5/6-26, 3. Jurisdiction) gives the CBOE jurisdiction over the election. The CBOE is the only election board in the state of Illinois that conducts elections outside of the election board's territory. Thanks to this special jurisdictional state law for the City of Chicago, the CBOE has the authority over several more state legislative races each election season. The second state law that increased the CBOE's power allows the CBOE to conduct quasi-judicial hearing. Previously, the circuit court determined whether or not candidates were granted ballot access. Currently the CBOE hires hearing officers to review an objector's challenge to a candidate's nominating petitions prior to each election. CBOE honchos make sure that they only hire hearing officers who follow orders and decide election cases in favor of the machine's candidates whenever possible. For example, CBOE hearing officers recently invalidated 72% of the signatures that nine Republican candidates submitted to the CBOE. Consequently, the CBOE denied ballot access to all nine Republican candidates, and now nine Democrats will not have an opponent in the November, 2012 election. 52% of Democratic State Senate Candidates Ran Uncontested between 2004 and 2010 Tables 1 and 2 summarize all state senate elections between 2004 and 2010. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Chicago's Democratic candidates for state senate had no opposition. No Republican candidate under the authority of the CBOE had the luxury of running for state senate unopposed. Given that Democrats have ruled Springfield for so long, a high percentage of uncontested Democratic state senate candidates is not surprising. Democrats continually passed election laws, such as the two laws that expanded the CBOE's power, to insure their candidates for state senate ran unopposed. Contested and Uncontested State Senate Elections1 Year Total Elections Contested Elections Uncontested Democrats Uncontested Republicans 2010 6 2 4 0 2008 16 7 9 0 2006 14 9 5 0 2004 8 3 5 0 2004 to 2010 totals 44 21 23 0 Table 1 2004 to 2010 State Senate Elections in Percents Year % of Uncontested Democrats % of Uncontested Republicans 2010 67% 0% 2008 56% 0% 2006 36% 0% 2004 53% 0% 2004 to 2010 total percent 52% 0% Table 2 58% of State Representative Candidates Ran Uncontested between 2004 and 2010 Tables 3 and 4 summarize all of Chicago's state representative elections between 2004 and 2010. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of the Democratic candidates for state representative had had no opposition. Six Republican candidates for state representative were lucky enough to run unopposed. Nonetheless, a Democratic candidate for state representative is 15 times more likely to have no opposition than a Republican candidate. Contested and Uncontested State Rep Elections Year Total Elections Contested Elections Uncontested Democrats Uncontested Republicans 2010 39 11 26 2 2008 39 12 26 1 2006 39 19 18 2 2004 39 17 21 1 2004 to 2010 totals 156 59 91 6 Table 3 State Representative Elections in Percent Year % of Uncontested Democrats % of Uncontested Republicans 2010 67% 5% 2008 67% 3% 2006 46% 5% 2004 54% 3% 2004 to 2010 total percent 58% 4% Table 4 Referendums: Another Way the Machine Denies Voters their Right to Self-Govern The denial of the voters' right to choose doesn't end with 60% of the machine's state legislative candidates running unopposed. As with candidates, the same is true for referendums. The Illinois General Assembly--which Chicago machine legislators rule with absolute authority--made sure the people of Chicago could not enact their own laws through a referendum. According to state law, Chicago referendums can only be advisory, not binding. The state law that limits Chicago referendums to only advisory information is most likely unconstitutional because citizens have a right to self-determination. Limiting the number of referendums to three per election is yet another way the machine denies voters their right to self-govern. Recently the three referendum limit per ballot law was used to stop the grassroots movement of an elected school board. When Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his puppet aldermen heard a referendum for an elected school board in the works, they pushed through three meaningless referendums. Since state law only allows three advisory referendums on any given ballot, Chicago residents will not be able vote for or against an elected school board. The Chicago Way Must End Democratic state legislators are not winning their elections based on their ability, merit, or selfless public service. Manipulating election laws is the sole reason Democrats control the Illinois General Assembly. The longer Democrats are in power, the more they will continue their practice of using election laws to suppress or eliminate their political opposition. The General Assembly has performed poorly for years,. Rather than holding the general assemblymen more accountable for their lousy job performance, Democratic state legislators have made it increasing more difficult to challenge them. The U.S. trend is to reduce the obstacles for candidates to access the ballot. Instead Illinois legislators aligned with the machine have purposely made ballot access more difficult. As the research in tables 1 through 4 show, the more restrictions state legislative candidates faced, the more Democratic candidates ran unopposed on election day. The people of the state of Illinois will know the Chicago way is ending when nearly all of the candidates for state representative and state senate have an opponent. For the Chicago and State of Illinois political nightmare to end, voters need more than a few token candidates at the ballot box. The courts have reaffirmed numerous times that voters and candidates have an inalienable right to free speech and campaign for public office. Now more than ever the honest people of Illinois need to hear the voices of candidates and voters who are unaffiliated with the Chicago machine. Related Articles: Obama's Strategy to Win at All Cost Violated His Challengers' Civil Rights Chicago Election Commissioner Visited the White House 9 Days before Deciding the Rahm Emanuel Residency Case Chicago Board of Elections Refused Nine Republicans Ballot Access Notes 1. To collect the data from tables 1 through 4 visit the CBOE's website. Click here, and select the "General Election" for 2004, 2006, 2008, and 2010. Next select the district for each state senate and state representative election. The CBOE doesn't include candidates' political party when it lists general election results. For contested general elections view the preceding primary election to determine each candidate's party affiliation. Conducting an Internet search by a candidate's name is another way to determine the political party of a candidate. About the Author Jay Stone is neither a Democrat, nor a Republican. Jay is an independent who supports political competition, accountability, fairness, and good, honest government. Special Thanks to Jay Stone and his father Alderman Stone for their unwavering support, Patrick D. McDonough 48th Ward Chicago, Illinois 60640