The Chicago Way: Deny Voters a Choice at the Polls

60%  of Democrat State Legislative Candidates from Chicago Run Unopposed

The way the Chicago machine churns out votes and victories is unconstitutional and un-American. The Chicago Democrat machine can’t deny citizens their right to vote because election fraud of that kind is too obvious. Instead the Chicago political mafia devised a more devious and subtle way to maintain its death grip on Chicago and Illinois politics. The machine makes sure its own people are in charge of elections so candidates who are not affiliated with the machine do not appear 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 unopposed Democrat machine candidate or don’t 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, which empowers the CBOE, are responsible for the fact that 60% of state legislative candidates run opposed. 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 themselves wrote and passed.

Neal has been paid an estimated income of $30 to $40 million  by 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 Democrat machine politicians because the elected officials Neal certifies to hold office steer 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 Democrat machine candidates running unopposed 60% of the time.

The CBOE’s systematic denial of ballot access to non-machine candidates 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 Is Based on State Law

There are two main state laws that expand the CBOE’s authority to deny ballot access to non-machine candidates. The first law gives the CBOE the right to conduct and certify elections when only a part of the 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 authority extra state legislative races each election season.

The second state law that increases the CBOE’s power allows the CBOE to conduct quasi-judicial hearings. 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 Democrat State Senate Candidates Ran Uncontested  (2004 – 2010)

Tables 1 and 2 summarize all state senate elections between 2004 and 2010. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Chicago’s Democrat 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 Democrat state senate candidates is not surprising. Democrats continually pass election laws, such as the two laws described above, that continuously expand the CBOE’s power to insure that their candidates for state senate run 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 by Percentage

Year

% of Uncontested Democrats

% of Uncontested Republicans

2010

67%

0%

2008

56%

0%

2006

36%

0%

2004

53%

0%

2004 to 2010 avg. percent

52%

0%

Table 2

58% of Democrat State House Candidates Ran Uncontested (2004 – 2010)

Tables 3 and 4 summarize all of Chicago’s state representative elections between 2004 and 2010. Fifty-eight percent (58%) of the Democrat candidates for state representative had no opposition. Six Republican candidates for state representative were lucky enough to run unopposed. Nonetheless, a Democrat 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

 

2004 to 2010 State Representative Elections by Percentage

 

Year

% of Uncontested Democrats

% of Uncontested Republicans

2010

67%

5%

2008

67%

3%

2006

46%

5%

2004

54%

3%

2004 to 2010 avg. percent

58%

4%

 

 Table 4

 

Referendums: Another Way the Machine Denies Voters Their Right to Self-Govern

The denial of the voter’s right to choose doesn’t end with 60% of the Democrat 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–makes sure the people of Chicago cannot enact their own laws through  referendums. According to state law, Chicago referendums can only be advisory, not binding. The state law that limits Chicago referendums to only advisory status 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 law was used to stop the grassroots drive for an elected school board. When Mayor Rahm Emanuel and his puppet aldermen heard that a referendum for an elected school  board was 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 even be able to voice an opinion for or against an elected school  board.

The Chicago Way Must End

Democrat 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, Democrat state legislators have made it increasingly more difficult to challenge them. The U.S. trend is to reduce the obstacles candidates face to access the ballot. Instead, Illinois legislators aligned with the Democrat machine have purposely made ballot access more difficult. As the statistics in Tables 1 through 4 show, the more restrictions state legislative candidates face, the more Democrat candidates run 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 senator have an opponent. For the Chicago and Illinois political nightmare to end, voters need more than a few token candidates on the ballot. The courts have reaffirmed numerous times that voters and candidates have an inalienable right to free speech and to campaign for public office. Now more than ever the honest people of Illinois need to hear the voices of candidates who are unaffiliated with the Chicago Democrat machine.

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Notes

1. To collect the data from Tables 1 through 4, visit the CBOE’s website. Click here and select “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 a candidate’s 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.