Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Polls Are Open...

... in the most depressing election season of my life.

Early voting is open. In spite of whatever the Toni Berrios campaign may or may not want you to believe, you may vote early in any of these locations.  I usually vote over at the Budlong Woods branch library.

I have no idea which ballot I'm going to pull. In Illinois, in the primary, you can ask for a Republican ballot, a Democratic ballot, or a nonpartisan ballot. Then you can make your little strategic choices based on what's on the ballot. If you choose the nonpartisan ballot, you only get to vote on the three nonbinding ballot questions. At least I think they're nonbinding.

I always feel a little bit weird asking for a Republican ballot, on those occasions when I have done so.

The only thing I know for certain is that I personally cannot vote for Pat Quinn in the Democratic primary because the wording of the Constitution is so clear, and the Governor has elected to violate it so glibly. Then there's Paul Vallas. Good lord.  I'm too old to continue voting for charlatans.

This year, I only feel strongly about the race is over in the 39th legislative district, currently held by the appalling candidate that I have written about before. However, I live up in Rogers Park, and my own legislative primary is uncontested; the legislative seat is held by the capable Kelly Cassidy, with whom I don't always agree, but who is always available to discuss, listen, and debate.

I'm writing this post to point out, as Fred Klonsky has on so many occasions, that in Chicago we get to vote for the water commissioners, but not the school board.  For example, here are the candidates running in the Democratic primary for water commissioner.

There are no candidates for school board because the residents of Chicago aren't entitled to that kind of franchise. The can't handle it, apparently. All the other school districts in Illinois can handle it, but Chicagoans can't handle it. I wonder what it is about the majority of people in Chicago that lawmakers find so incompetent and frightening...

If you don't have time to research the candidates for water commissioner, you're basically up a tree, as far as I can tell. I used to rely on the IVI-IPO endorsements as being at least based on an open process, but there's some strangeness in that process now that I don't understand and don't trust.  Could it possibly be that the Berrios camp has infiltrated the IVI-IPO process? Maybe someone can give me an assist there. Usually I'm up on all the little scandals but this year, not so much.

Here are the three ballot questions you'll find on your ballot, no matter which election you're voting in. These questions are installed onto the ballot by the Emanuel political machine, including Alderman Joe Moore, in a successful effort to prevent the people of Chicago from even expressing an opinion on an elected school board.  It's the Democratic form of voter suppression.

A number of us gathered signatures a couple summers ago and got a nonbinding question on the ballot in a couple precincts in the 49th Ward. About 90% of the people voting said "Yes" to the elected school board question, but the alderman opposes it. The mayor opposes it. Basically anyone for whom the charter school patronage arrangement is beneficial is opposed to letting voters participate in the democracy.

Rest assured that no matter what happens--- and I mean hell or high water, the voters of Chicago are going to be prevented from voting on the elected school board by people like Rahm Emanuel and Joe Moore until there's a progressive mayor. And nobody can lay a claim to that adjective -- progressive-- if he or she is opposed to letting voters vote.

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