It’s not easy to run as a write-in anymore.
Remember when Mike Royko used to write columns after pretty much each election. He’d point out how many votes Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Bugs Bunny got.
This was none too subtle ridicule of the political class.
Ridicule is something that elected officials just can’t stand.
So, what did the Springfield politicians do?
First, they required people to file a piece of paper the Friday before the election.
That would have prohibited the vigorous write-in campaign for the Crystal Lake City County (in the 1970’s, I think) by Vance Roberts when Crystal Lake Jaycees got former President Chuck Scott, running for re-election, invited friends to a going away party. His company was transferring him to New Jersey.
Vance was incensed that Scott seemed to be setting up the rest of the city council to appoint a replacement which would essentially be a four-year term
He ran about a four-day campaign. He didn’t win, but the community certainly knew there was a campaign. I still remember the Popcicle-shaped signs which which we put around the doors of polling places—100 feet away from the door, of course.
Giving four days written notice wasn’t enough, however. The next election cycle, the law required a full week’s notice.
That wasn’t good enough. Too many corrections.
Two years later, it was two weeks notice.
This year, a sixty day notice law took effect.
Looking at Kathie Schultz’ voter guide, I see plenty of contests with fewer candidates than offices to be filled. Here are some examples:
- Oakwood Hills, no candidate for two-year village trustee vacancy
- Prairie Grove, three four-year terms for village trustee, only two filed
- Fox River Grove Library District, only 1 person filed for 2 seats
- Marengo-Union Library District, no candidate for a four-year term
- River East Public Library District, only 1 candidate for 3 seats
- Rural Woodstock Public Library District, no candidate for 4-year term
- Wauconda Public Library District, only 3 candidates for 4 seats
- Riley Grade School District 19, only 2 candidates for 4 seats
- Harrison (Wonder Lake) Grade School District 36, only 3 candidates for 4 seats
- Crystal Lake Grade School District 47, only 3 candidates for 4 seats
There are also no candidates for Riley and Hartland Township Assessors, but not just anyone can run for that office. They have to pass tests to show minimum competency.
But, for all the other offices listed above, anyone could serve.
Under the new law, however, no one can just walk into the polling place, see a vacancy and elect him or herself. All but two of these vacancies will be filled by appointment by whomever is on the tax district board.
Tomorrow – Part 2