90% of IL State Senate Candidates Under the CBOE Authority are Running Unopposed

78% of IL State Representative Candidates Don’t have Opposition

This may shock those who believe they will vote in democratic elections on November 6, 2012. The winners of 82% of Chicago’s legislative elections have already been decided by the Illinois state legislature and the Chicago Board of Elections (CBOE). Furthermore, courts tend to uphold the election laws Illinois legislators pushed through to deny voters their right to elect their representatives; consequently, a handful of judges have already determined the outcome of most state legislative elections.

The CBOE eliminating candidates who oppose the machine dates back at least to Barack Obama’s 1996 state senate election. Obama’s election is a classic example of the CBOE determining the outcome of a state senate election before the voters in the state senate district went to the polls. Four candidates filed to run against Obama, but not one of the four candidates survived the challenges Obama filed with the CBOE. The CBOE invalidated 62% of Obama’s opponents’ signatures and all four of Obama’s would be challengers fell below the minimum signature requirement that the Illinois state legislature had set. The CBOE denying Obama’s four challengers ballot access allowed Obama to run unopposed in his first election.

Altogether Barack Obama had six primary and general state senate elections. As is typical for an Illinois legislator, in four out of his six state senate elections Obama did not face an opponent.

The absolute proof of predetermined elections before citizens are giving a chance to vote is the number of Illinois state legislative candidates running unopposed on November 6, 2012. Ninety percent (90%) of the state senate candidates running under the authority of the Chicago Board of elections have no opposition in the next election. There are 18 state senate candidates who will be sworn in as a state senator without facing an opponent in the November general election. Just two state senate districts have two candidates facing off against one another (18 unopposed state senate elections / 20 total state senate elections = 90% unopposed state senate candidates).

Seventy-eight percent (78%) of the candidates for state representative under the authority of the CBOE are running without an opponent. There is no political competition in 28 out of the 36 state representative elections. Eight state representative districts have two or more candidates opposing one another (28 unopposed state rep candidates / 36 total state rep elections = 78% unopposed state rep candidates).

The lack of political competition for state senator and state representative candidates combined is 82% (18 unopposed state senate candidates + 28 unopposed state rep candidates / 56 total state senate and state rep elections = 82% unopposed state senate and state rep candidates).

Why Candidates Run Unopposed

There are multiple reasons why more than 80% of the Illinois state legislative candidates under the authority of the CBOE don’t have political opponents. As with fish, the CBOE is rotting from the head down. CBOE Chairman Langdon Neal earns over $90,000 for his part-time job, but where Chairman Neal really makes his money is through his law firm. Neal has earned an estimated $35 million dollars from his law firm’s no-bid government contracts and lobbying business.

Chairman Neal is a third generation machine politician. Machine honchos have vested Chairman Neal with the power to determine who is on or off the Chicago ballot. If candidates are not part the machine that has made Chairman Neal rich through his no-bid government contracts and cozy lobbying business, then in most cases non-machine candidates aren’t getting on the ballot.

Chairman Neal denied nine Republican Illinois state legislative candidates access to the November ballot. To deny these candidates ballot access, Chairman Neal and his CBOE underlings invalidated 72% of the nine Republicans’ nominating signatures.

State Legislators Enact Election Laws to Protect Their Jobs 

Why is it increasingly more difficult for non-machine candidates to access the ballot in each subsequent election? Illinois state senators and representatives enact election laws that unduly influence the outcomes of their own elections. Every time Illinois state legislators create a new election law its purpose is to give entrenched legislators more advantages at the polls. Illinois election laws exist for job security, not democracy.

Illinois legislators aren’t elected on their merits, ability, or selfless public service. Illinois is in the worse financial shape of any state in the country. The lack of political competition is epidemic in Illinois. The number of Illinois state senator and state representative candidates running unopposed throughout the entire state is 55% (see below). Because of the election laws Illinois legislators put in place to protect themselves, the Illinois legislators who made financially strapped citizens responsible for their fiscal mess have yet to be held accountable.

If you don’t like the food at a restaurant, you simply go to another restaurant. If you don’t like the job your cleaner does, you take your clothes somewhere else. But if you don’t like the performance of your state senator or state representative in most cases you don’t have a choice. The CBOE and state legislature provide you with the least amount of political options. The majority of Illinois voters want to improve their government by electing representatives who are competent, honest, and fair, but well-intentioned voters can’t find the names of candidates who espouse their good government views on the ballot.

The CBOE Opposition Rate Compared to the Cook County Board of Elections

The Cook County Board of Elections has partial or complete authority in 32 state senate elections. Sometimes the geographical boundaries of state senate or state representative districts encompass both the Chicago Board of Elections (CBOE) and the Cook County Board of Elections (CCBOE). When CBOE and CCBOE legislative districts overlap, the CBOE has jurisdiction over ballot access.

The machine’s leaders in Springfield want the CBOE to determine candidates’ ballot access because they know CBOE boss Langdon Neal will eliminate as many non-machine candidates as possible. CBOE Chairman Neal’s no-bid government contracts and cozy lobbying business buys a lot of political insurance, especially stopping non-machine candidates names from appearing on the ballot.

Twenty (20) of the CCBOE 32 state senate races overlap with the CBOE. This leaves CCBOE having full authority over 12 senate races (32 state senate elections – 20 state senate elections = 12 state senate elections). Though the CCBOE counts votes in the 20 state senates districts that overlap with the CBOE, it was the CBOE who decided candidates’ ballot access in the overlapping districts. Only one candidate out of the 12 state senate races under the CCBOE authority is running unopposed.

The percentage of CCBOE state senate candidates running unopposed is 8%. Recall the number of state senate candidates running unopposed under the CBOE authority is 90%. The table below summarizes the results.

CBOE versus CCBOE: State Senate Candidates

CBOE

CCBOE

Unopposed Candidates

18

1

Total Candidates

20

12

Unopposed Candidates

90%

8%

The CCBOE is involved in 58 state representative elections. The CBOE controlled ballot access for 36 out of the 58 elections. The CCBOE is in charge of ballot access for 22 elections (58 state rep elections – 36 state rep election = 22 state rep elections). Ten (10) state representative candidates out of 22 do not have an opponent. Forty-six percent (46%) of the state representative candidates under the CCBOE authority did not have an opponent compared to 78% under CBOE authority. The table below summarizes the CBOE and CCBOE comparison.

CBOE versus CCBOE: State Representative Candidates

CBOE CCBOE

Unopposed Candidates

28

10

Total Candidates

36

22

Unopposed Candidates 78%

46%

The disparity between the percentage of candidates running unopposed under the CBOE and CCBOE authority can’t be blamed on geopolitics or law. Both the CBOE and CCBOE offices are in the same building, and they are both enforcing the same Illinois election laws! The fact that the CBOE and CCBOE are using the same Illinois election laws in the same building begs the question: “Why are 90% of the CBOE’s state senate candidates unopposed and only 8% of CCBOE’s candidates unopposed?  Why are 78% of the CBOE state representative candidates facing no opposition and only 46% of the CCBOE’s candidates face no opponent?

Since it is not the law or location that is causing significantly more CBOE candidates to run unopposed, then it has to be the CBOE personnel. This lead us back to CBOE Chairman Langdon Neal, the man whose law firm has received over $100 million in local no-bid government contracts. It seems that Election Chairman Neal is doing more than what is stipulated in his no-bid government contracts in order to keep big bucks flowing into his firm from local politicians.

CBOE Comparison Statewide

There are 109 election authorities in Illinois. These 109 Illinois election authorities are responsible for 59 state senate and 118 state representative elections. Ninety-eight (98) candidates for the Illinois legislature out of 177 are running unopposed. Altogether 55% of the candidates running for state representatives and state senate candidates in Illinois are running unopposed (98 unopposed state senate and state rep candidates / 177 elections = 55% unopposed state senate and state rep candidates). More than half of the races for state senate and state representative have already been decided before Illinois voters cast their ballots.

When we compare the CBOE to other election authorities it shows a significant and disproportionate number of unopposed Illinois legislative candidates under the authority of CBOE. The percent of unopposed state senate candidates throughout Illinois, excluding the CBOE, is 28%. The percent of unopposed state senate candidates under the authority of the CBOE is 90%.

Unopposed State Senate Candidates

CBOE 108 Election Authorities

Unopposed Candidates

18

11

Total Candidates

20

39

Unopposed Candidates 90%

28%

 

The percent of unopposed state representative candidates statewide is 50%. The unopposed state representative candidates under the CBOE authority is 78%. The 28% difference in unopposed candidates between the CBOE and the other 108 Illinois election authorities is statistically significant and revealing.

Unopposed State Representative Candidates

CBOE

108 Election Authorities

Unopposed Candidates

28

41

Total Candidates

36

82

Unopposed Candidates

78%

50%

Unopposed Democrats and Republicans

No Republican state senate or state representative candidate under the CBOE authority is unopposed. Across the state, there are more Democrats than Republicans running unopposed. The margin of Democrats running unopposed is large enough for the Democrats to retain their Illinois General Assembly majority and control of election laws. Without election laws changing to advance democracy, the Illinois Republican party will continue to be a distant second to the Democrats who have rigged election laws in their favor. In the end the people of Illinois will continue to suffer financial and personal hardships from their inability to vote in fair and competitive elections.

Unopposed Democrats and Republicans

Democrats

Republicans

Unopposed Senate Candidates

16

13

Unopposed Representative  Candidates

39

30

Total Unopposed Candidates

55

43

Total Unopposed Candidates (percent)

56%

44%

Methodology and Notes

The statistics in the text and tables above come from the CBOE, CCBOE, and the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) ballots. To view these ballot’s, click on the following:

CBOE Ballot 2012

Cook County Ballot 2012

ISBE 2012 State Senate & State Rep Elections

The CBOE and CCBOE’s ballots were taken from their websites. The ISBE’s FOIA officer emailed me a list of all the state senators and state representatives on the November 6, 2012 ballot.

I created a tally sheet using CBOE, CCBOE, and ISBE ballots. To view my tally sheet, click 2012 State Senate and State Rep Races.

My tally sheet’s Column one contains the number of a state senate or state representative district. There are 59 state senate districts and 118 state representative districts. Column 2 has a 1 for a candidate running unopposed or a 2 which means two candidates running against each other. Column 2 may also contain the word “Rep” when a Republican is running unopposed.

Column 3 is for all of the elections under the CBOE authority. Column 4 is for all of the elections of under the authority of the CCBOE. The word “Yes” is listed in columns 3 and 4 when the CBOE, CCBOE, or both have authority over a state senate or state representative election. If “Yes” is listed in columns 3 and 4 for both the CBOE and CCBOE, then the CBOE is in charge of the district’s ballot access.

A summation of a column’s contents appears at the bottom of the state senate and state representative tables.