Saturday, February 26, 2005

Another good bill -- HB 758 -- that ought to be passed

As a former third party organizer, I can tell you from experience, that Illinois election laws just aren't fair. Any citizen who wants to run for office should get on the ballot. But Illinois law treats appearing on the ballot as a prize to be earned, rather than a right to be claimed by any citizen.

Jeff Trigg with the Illinois Libertarian Party is leading the charge to get more public attention paid to how unfair the ballot access laws are. There's a reason why among the top 10 states, we're the only state to have only two established parties on the ballot. Most states have 3 or 4. Some states have 7 or 8. The major party candidates almost always win, but voters have the choice to pick whatever candidate they want -- and those small party candidates are great for the public dialogue, because they are exclusively about issues. Major party candidates have to be about a lot of things besides issues. They need to appear to be a responsible representative of their community. They need to culturally identify with the people who live in their district. And they need to convey an ability to serve as an ombudsman to citizens. Pushing an issue-oriented agenda is only part of that. That's one reason why I like lots of candidates and parties -- it teaches us all about potentially better ways to run the government.

I appreciate Jeff sending me a public thank-you for working with Representative Mike Boland in drafting HB 758. Boland deserves a lot of credit for consistently working for a more open government, as do his two co-sponsors, Paul Froehlich and Jack Franks (full disclosure -- I'm Paul's roommate in Springfield).

It's long past time that Illinois voters are routinely presented with an array of choices on election day, and HB 758 will hasten that day.

1 comment:

FightforJustice said...

My guess is there's not much chance that legislators will vote against their self interest, with the notable exception of the bill's sponsors. In other words, that bill is DOA.