May 28, 2005

Vote expantion measure passes house

This seems like this is some very good news. A bill with provisions designed to increase the ability of more people to participate in elections has passed the Illiniois House today and will be sent to Gov. Blagojevich for his signature.
The package, which passed the House on a 62-51 vote Saturday, would require the creation of voters' guides, time off from work for voting in some circumstances, the inclusion of voter information in college registration materials, and the availability of online voter registration through state agency Web sites.
Republicans are squealing like stuck pigs, so it must be good. Hope Blago puts the ink to this one. Who can be against more people being able to vote more easily? Oh yeah, Republicans.


At 5/29/2005 8:08 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

These continued complaints from the Republicans remind me of the days when we were trying to get legal standing for voter registration in the Secretary of States Drivers Liscense registration facilities. They cried foul at that time too and since they had a Republican State-wide officeholder at the time, it was delay delay delay until we finally got Jesse White in office.

From what I hear, the Drivers registrations offices are doing a fine job with virtually no fraud.

Dope you are right on target as usual. If the Republicans had their way, only rich people and soccer moms could vote and then the scant few involved would then make the decisions for us all.

Kind of like what the new Mayor of Moline thinks - and I saw him on TV a few months ago saying you know - 'don't let the people decide how the tax dollars should be spent - that would bring the City of Moline to it's knees'. Well I think he may be right about part of that - the City may be at it's knees soon trying to hold up all the debt.

At 5/30/2005 12:51 PM, Blogger Jeff Trigg said...

What good is more people being able to vote when those voters have only one candidate on the ballot?

There are some good things in HB1968, but there are some really bad things also. Republicans would have served themselves well to address each item on its own merits rather than complaining about the entire bill. Increasing the signatures to run for State Rep and State Senate when 50% of those races were already unopposed in 2004 makes no sense but as an incumbent protection measure.

Letting unions avoid lobbying and campaign finance laws isn't a good idea and is opposite the transparency most Democrats usually tout when pushing for campaign finance reform.

An online Voter's Guide is created but you have to pay $600 per candidate to be included without a "Pauper" provision. The Greens would need $3,600 to include their candidates for the Constitutional offices, for example. That just caters to the rich candidates and further hinders the principled candidates where all the good ideas are.

HB1968 did nothing to ease signature requirements for third parties and independents and missed the chance to reform many of the antidemocratic provisions the Democrats have championed for too long.

On the positive side, making it easier for people to vote is a good idea and I'm glad that was included. They corrected some anbiguities and reduced the sigs needed to run for Chicago Mayor from 25,000 to 12,500, which is better but still a lot more than all the major US cities.

HB1968 is a vote expnasion measure, but it's also an incumbent protection measure. Leave it to the Dems to disenfrachise potential candidates/competition while giving voters more opportunities to have no choice on the ballot.

At 5/30/2005 4:24 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

jtrigg - you miss the point here. More participation is always good - and there are always choices on the ballot. That's why we vote so we can pick one ok?

Right now we have low turnout to our elections on all levels. Why not make it so that more people can become involved? The Democratic process was not invented for the few who have all day to stand in line and wait their turn to hit the ballot. It was meant for everyone. In the modern day shifts of the working class who commute sometimes 2 to 4 hours a day, work anywhere from an 8 to a 12 hour daily shift, and have errands and kids to pickup daily, I like the idea of online voting and giving time off to vote.

My point above is valid. The only people who don't want to increase the total tally of votes at the end of the day are the elite because (for now anyway) there are fewer of them than the working class.

I am impressed that you appear to have read the entire bill and have formulated some opinions while I have only read what was in the news reports - but what I have read looks good. And it sure harkens back to the last improvements which were met with great resistance last time as well.

Comeon - just admit it jtrigg - you are a Republican and you don't want more Democrats being allowed easy access to the ballot right?? IT means your party may have to actually have some valid issues for a change - isn't that true?

At 5/30/2005 6:49 PM, Blogger latinv said...

Please accept a belated Memorial Day wish for all in dope-land for a safe and healthy Memorial Day.

At 5/30/2005 11:44 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

JTrigg.... thanks for your very informative post. I was unaware of the restrictive measures included in the bill. I completely agree with you that thresholds for running for office are artificially hight as they stand and definitely need to be lowered. I also think the amount charged to be included on the voter guide is ridiculous and obviously designed to be exlclusive, not inclusive.

While I welcome measures which make it more convenient for people to register and vote, I feel strongly that something must be done to make the current hurdles that the Dems and Republicans have errected to make it prohibitively expensive or difficult for other party candidates to get on ballots need to be reformed and based on rational numbers, not simply artificially high barriers designed to ensure that only candidates from the two major parties are able to participate.

I believe Mike Boland has sponsored legislation which reduces the currently high number of signatures required to get on the ballot for some races. For this he should be commended.

I was not aware that this bill contained so many back-door measures to continue to exclude viable third party candidates. This is wrong.

At 5/31/2005 9:12 PM, Blogger Jeff Trigg said...

maybesomeday - Actually, I'm a Libertarian, not a Republican. In fact, the Executive Director of the LP Illinois. Sure, there are always choices on the ballot in a few races. But I'll bet half if not more of our State Reps and State Senators again run unopposed. Perhaps we missed each other's points.

This bill makes it easier for those that want to participate, to do so. But it really doesn't increase the # of people that can participate or that want to participate. To increase the number that can participate we could allow felons to vote, lower the voting age, reduce residency requirement to less than 30 days, and the like. But to increase the # that want to participate, this bill does nothing and actually is counterproductive to that goal. I'm all for making it easier to vote and the provisions in this bill that do just that. How about other these other ideas? Same day registration. Move voting to Saturday. Expand absentees ability. Vote by mail, like Oregon. Lots of ideas.

You want higher turnouts? Where are the Illinois Democrats on the issue of gerrymandering? Competition is the best way to involve more people in the debate and inspire more people to vote. State Reps with no competition are not doing any GOTV programs, aren't registering people to vote, aren't talking people into voting, etc. etc. Same goes for districts that the outcome will be 75-25. HB1968 will hardly make a sliver of an improvement in turnout. Ending gerrymandering and more competition would do a lot more toward that goal, but most Democrats (and Republicans) want nothing to do with that. On the competition note, ALL candidates should have the same opportunity to get on the ballot. That alone would improve voter turnout more than anything in this bill.

ID - Yup, Mike Boland has always been supportive of election reforms that really will help, including ballot access for everyone. Mike's a great guy too, and I think we're all lucky to have him in public service.

There are a lot of good things in this bill that are long overdue so I'm glad they passed. I just don't understand their need to include the stupid stuff. Probably never will. Overall I'd say the legislation is a wash between good and bad and it won't have much positive if any impact on turnout.

For trivia sake, the bad stuff in this bill is part of what they tried to attach to the bill to let President Bush get on the ballot that the Rs wouldn't agree with. They bent over backwards to let Bush on the ballot, but went to great trouble to keep Nader off the ballot. That's curious.


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