Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Nice election reform bill up this week on an internet voters guide

Senate Bill 187 (Senator Ira Silverstein - Representative Sara Feigenholtz) is here and it is up in the House Elections and Campaign Reform Committee Wednesday at 11 am. See the committee schedule here if you don't believe me.

This would set up an internet voters guide for statewide offices on the State Board of Elections website.

This is long overdue. Unfortunately, the sponsors apparently had to strip out the provisions to authorize a printed voters guide, which at least a dozen states issue but not Illinois. But this is a good bill and I certainly hope it passes.

If you'd like to call your representative this week for a democracy-enhancing bill, SB 187 is a good one. It might not "rock the system" but it will teach some citizens about the candidates on the ballot, and that's a good thing. An educated electorate is a good thing.

I'm not sure why the bill only earned 31 votes in the Senate. Here is the roll call. Some usual Republican supporters of transparent government, like Rauschenberger, Lauzen, Winkel and Dillard voted no. The Democrats who voted no on this include Jacobs and Munoz which is not a good sign, especially as there isn't a compelling reason to vote against the bill besides a nagging sense that voters are already getting too much information. The Republicans who voted yes along with every other Democratic senator to save the bill are Dave Sullivan and Christine Radogno. They deserve some thanks.

I wonder which Republican state senators, based on their complete voting record, are the most reasonable, defined as willing to vote with the Democrats on a good government bills like this. It's hard to separate out partisan loyalty from the roll call, but that's the expectation of some Republican senators. And similarly, I wonder which Democratic senators are the most 'at risk' to peel away from the caucus position and kill a bill on good government bills like this. Comments, guesses, speculation or actual data is welcome.

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