When politicians begin messing with ballot access and signature requirements, watch out. Usually, they’re up to no good. (Always.)
Illinois State Representative Joseph Lyons would likely disagree. He’s sponsoring a bill to equalize the number of signatures required to get on the ballot for a Chicago alderman position. Currently, many wards require just a few hundred signatures. Lyons wants to up that to 500 per ward. Every ward should be equal, dontcha know.
Besides, he says, “To get 500 signatures should not be a burden.” Then comes his kicker. “The more friends you’ve got, the easier it should be. And if you don’t have any friends, you shouldn’t be running for alderman.”
And there’s the rub. Just who are his friends that would benefit?
Could they be his current Democratic buddies who already serve as aldermen, and don’t want the competition?
Cindi Canary, director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, is certainly skeptical about this reform. Quoted in an excellent Chicago Tribune article, she insists that the bill would have “a big effect in low voter-turnout wards.” But then, as she admits, she’s interested in getting more people to run for office, not making it harder to do so.
We know where Lyons stands on this. He’s like most politicians. Once he and his buddies get in, they want to keep the competition out.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.