|QUINN: Adding mayoral term limits to legacy?|
In fact, the campaigns that get on the ballot with ease usually have far in excess of the minimum number of support signatures; but pick out the ‘cleanest’ petitions so as to reduce the number of signatures that successfully get challenged.
SO WHEN I learned that the nominating petitions for former Gov. Pat Quinn’s Chicago mayoral term limit referendum question were filed this week with the city Clerk’s office, I checked to see how many signatures the Mighty Quinn had on his petitions.
86,481, to be exact.
Which is more than the 52,519 valid signatures Quinn needs to have in order to have a chance of getting the term limits question on the Nov. 6 election ballots in Chicago.
I say have a chance because this issue is going to wind up being decided by a judge, or more likely by the judges of the Illinois Supreme Court.
FOR THE CITY Council already has come up with three referendum questions of its own for the Nov. 6 ballots (remember the plastic straws question?), and the argument will be made that state law limits up to three referendum questions per election cycle.
They’ll claim in all earnestness that there just isn’t any room for Quinn’s term limits question.
Even though the council came up with their own referendum questions for the explicit purpose of squeezing out any other issues that city officials might not want contemplated. Such as term limits, which if it were to be on the ballot and actually pass would prohibit Mayor Rahm Emanuel from seeking re-election come the 2019 election cycle.
Of course, that IS Quinn’s intent in pursuing this issue. He’s amongst the people who want Anybody But Rahm as mayor, and he figures this might be the only way to actually beat him on Election Day. Just as Republican mayoral dreamer William Kelly is now spewing rhetoric saying there will be "hell to pay" from voters next year if Emanuel succeeds in kicking the term limits measure off of this year's ballot.
SO WHAT HAPPENS now?
As I stated before, the usual goal is to get double the number of signatures required for success. Which means Quinn needed to file some 104,000 signatures to have a chance that 52,519 of them would be ruled valid.
At 86,481, I’m sure Quinn will claim he has 34,000 extra signatures. But it can be argued he’s actually 18,000 signatures short.
From my own experience of covering elections boards (not just in Chicago, but everywhere) throughout the years, I know how anal-retentive election officials get when it comes to picking their way through a nominating petition – going line by line looking for any signature that is suspect.
THE ADDRESS OF the registered voter given on the petition doesn’t match up with the address on file with city Elections officials. Perhaps the name doesn’t match up, or the person isn’t registered to vote. Which makes their signature of support worthless!
Then, we’ll also get the minions who, on the day they were presented a nominating petition and given a chance to sign, decided to clown around. Yes, “Mickey Mouse” and “Bart Simpson,” along with numerous other nonsense signatures such as “I.P. Daley” (as though he’s the long-ignored distant relation of the former mayors), get put on petitions.There also will be the election judges who take overly-strict interpretations to knock signatures off so as to get the total under 52,519 – even if Quinn and his backers eventually get some of those restored, it will take up time and effort in the courts to do so. Which takes time away from them to pursue the serious issues they are interested in.
Which means that no matter what rhetoric Quinn spewed this week about his efforts, he’s a long-shot to succeed – even though I’m sure he wants to think this referendum will rank up with the Cutback Amendment of the early 1980s that reduced the size of the Illinois House of Representatives by one-third.