A proposed amendment to the Illinois Constitution to impose term limits on lawmakers apparently has enough valid signatures to appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Rupert Borsgmiller, executive director of the State Board of Elections, said Monday that a preliminary review of petitions filed by the Committee for Legislative Reform and Term Limits showed that about 60 percent of the signatures on the petitions are valid.

Proponents of the “Yes for Independent Maps” initiative campaign in Illinois were dealt a blow last week when election authorities found over half the signatures checked as part of a random sample were invalid.  Officials within the initiative campaign attacked the random sample process, contending there are more than enough valid signatures to put the measure on the ballot in November.

“We believe that the state ran a rushed, uneven, and back-room signature validation process, and that’s the reason for the unacceptable validity rate,” said Campaign Manager Michael Kolenc.

The group that wants to take the politically powerful process of drawing election maps away from Illinois lawmakers is facing more challenges after election authorities found that a majority of petition signatures needed to put the question to voters were invalid.

State Board of Elections executive director Rupert Borgsmiller said less than half of a 5 percent sample of signatures submitted by the “Yes for Independent Maps” campaign were valid — dealing a blow to an effort that already faces a court challenge in Chicago. But campaign officials say they’ve got enough valid signatures to put the constitutional amendment on the ballot in November and argue the state was “sloppy” in verifying signatures.

If you’re in the Chicago area tonight come check out the 35th Anniversary celebration for Taxpayers United of America. Our very own Paul Jacob will be a featured speaker at the event:

November 2nd, 2011
Contact: Jim Tobin (773) 354-2076 | Christina Tobin (312) 320-4101

CHICAGO””Taxpayers United of America (TUA), one of the largest taxpayer organizations in the country and founded in 1976 by Jim Tobin, will hold its 35th anniversary celebration on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011. The event will be at the University Club of Chicago, 76 E. Monroe St., Chicago, and will start at 6 pm.

Members of the media are invited. (The University Club requires jackets, ties optional, and no denim.)

Speakers include:

West Northfield School District 31 is considerating more than $1 million in budgets cuts in the wake of voters’ rejection April 5 of a property tax referendum. Three teachers and an assistant principal who are retiring will not be replaced. Other cuts on the table include the elimination of transportation for before- and after-school student activities; the reduction or elimination of extracurricular sports, clubs, and activities; and the elimination of summer school, except for special education programs that are mandated by law.

Read the story from the Tribune Local

Voters by a wide margin shot down a $174 million plan to renovate and add on to New Trier High School’s Winnetka campus. Sixty-three percent of voters said no the ballot initiative, with a final vote tally of 13,713 to 8,068.

Read the story from Pioneer Press

After blogging yesterday about traffic enforcement cameras in Ohio, a reader pointed me to this excellent breakdown of red-light and speed camera votes around the country from According to the article, the cameras have never survived a public vote: they usually lose by margins of two-to-one.

Among the five additional communities to ban cameras is Houston, Texas - America’s fourth largest city:

Of the 45 states whose legislatures hold sessions in 2010, 27 of them have adjourned for the year, and 5 more will wrap up before the end of the month. Of the more than 80 bills dealing with the initiative and referendum process in various states, 51 of them would have reduced citizens’ initiative rights. Thanks to the work of activists in our coalitions, only 3 bills reducing citizen’s rights have passed and become law.

The Fair Map Amendment proposal touted by supporters as an anti-corruption tool is falling way short in its quest to get on the November ballot with a deadline fast approaching. The proposed citizen initiative has garnered more than 120,000 petition signatures to get it on the ballot, but that is less than 50 percent of the 288,000-signature threshold. Supporters of the amendment had hoped to finish the petition drive by April 1, but that deadline has come and gone.

Some say changing the culture of corruption in Illinois will require changing the way the state draw legislative districts. Monday night a state Senate committee approved a constitutional amendment that would do that, but it’s not the change for which many reformers had hoped. A citizen group is hoping they’ve gathered enough signatures to put their plan on the November ballot instead.

Read the story from WSIL 3

Park Ridge voters could see questions on their November election ballot asking if they are willing to support funding for flood control and a fight against O’Hare Airport. On Monday night 3rd Ward Alderman Don Bach asked that in April the council continue discussion of possible referendum questions related to issuing bonds to complete flood-control projects and funding efforts related to reducing O’Hare noise and traffic.

It’s great that Illinois Governor Pat Quinn called for Illinois citizens to be able to put ethical reform measures on the ballot, but why stop there? Shouldn’t they be allowed to vote on tax and spending issues as well? What about marriage, school bonds, or smoking bans?

Quinn said he realized there may be “more to do” and underscored his long desire to put on the ballot an initiative that would let voters decide whether they could vote in ethical standards for officials in local and state governments throughout Illinois. “We have shown that when people work together, we can accomplish great things,” Quinn said.

Read the story from the Chicago Tribune

Illinois is technically an initiative state, but the process is very difficult.  Illinois citizens do not have the ability to pass their own statutes or repeal statutes passed by the state legislature. The initiative process in Illinois is only advisory. You can read more about the history of I&R in Illinois here.


Back in August Illinois Governor Pat Quinn issed and “amendatory veto” to House Bill 723, the “Protect Incumbents Act”. The bill deals with blocking minor political parties ability to put candidates on the ballot through a party meeting that occurrs after the primary election.