By Chinta Strausberg, Chicago Crusader
The Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO) recently held an accountability forum on how to recall Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner. He remains on the hot seat for personally using educational funds as hostage to get his non-budgetary initiatives passed.
The forum, headed by attorney Mike Radzilowsky, an election lawyer, and Marc Loveless, chairman of the IVI-IPO’s Community Action Committee, was held at the Martin Luther King Library, 3436 South King Drive. It was equally attended by both Blacks and whites who want to recall the governor.
IVI-IPO officials made their remarks on the heels of Rauner’s criticism of a new public education-funding plan that ironically will cost CPS $75 million fewer dollars. Rauner wants CPS to file bankruptcy so he can take control of the District.
For the first time in the state’s history, Illinois has been without a budget since last July. Both Senator Donne Trotter (D-16th) and Senator Kwame Raoul (13th) accuse Rauner of personally blocking any attempts for a budget compromise and have allegedly threatened revenge on Republicans and Democrats who vote for a budget compromise.
The group discussed plans for running a candidate for governor and recommended several potential candidates. Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and Senator Raoul are among the possible contenders.
Loveless said, “We’re taking a look at what the (recall) provision entails.” After talking to several legislators, Loveless said he was told if there is a recall “we’ll get the Lt. Governor whose name we do not know.” Loveless said he’s not sure if that is correct.
Attorney Mike Radzilowsky highlighted Article 3, Section 7 in the Illinois Constitution titled “The Initiative to Recall the Governor.”
Radzilowsky said in 2010 there was a recall provision passed that would apply to the governor. “We are the 19th state to have such a provision put into our Constitution.”
Explaining, Radzilowsky said there is a three-step process to recall the governor. “The process has to be initiated by 10 representatives from each party and 5 senators from each party calling for the referendum.
“You have to have a certain amount of bipartisan support-10 Republicans and 10 Democrats and have to have 5 senators to call for it. There is a 150-day period for people to get signatures to place the referendum on the ballot,” he explained.
According to Radzilowsky, if you use the figures from the last election, you would need to get 550,000 voters to sign off on these petitions. “They threw in this kicker that you couldn’t have all the petitions coming from Cook County. You must have 19 different counties and have at least 100 signatures in order for that question to be placed on the ballot.
“It’s a two-part process. You would either have a yes or no vote on whether to recall and if there were a yes vote on that, you would have a recall election set later.”
Referring to the stipulation that people gather at least 100 signatures from 19 different counties, Radzilowsky said many feel that would “run afoul of the one-person, one-vote. You have some counties with very little populations and those votes would count disproportionately to people in counties” like Cook County where there are a potential 2.9 million voters.
“Some people feel this is a non-starter even if it got the representatives and senators to vote for it and got signatures, the governor would probably challenge the law on the basis that the procedure would not pass constitutional mustard and get the thing thrown out on a technicality,” explained Radzilowsky.
The recall law, he said, “Is not fair because it is disproportionate. Many counties in Illinois have 10,000 or 12,000 people in a county.”
Radzilowsky said, “Let’s say you got 2 million signatures but they were all from the most populous counties. You would still not get the question on the ballot.”
On the question of recall legislation, he said, “There is legislation pending in Springfield to have a recall provision for the mayor, which basically is going nowhere, and there is a website seeking to recall Rauner but they have 22,359 people who went on the Internet and signed the petition. You need at least 600,000 votes….”
But even with the Internet recall campaign, Radzilowsky said there is the question “of what proof is an eligible voter. There are people who will sign a petition and are registered to vote at one address but moved to another address, if they put the wrong address down on the petition, that invalidates their signature.” He said 22,000 signatures “usually translates to about 60 percent of the signatures valid. You need close to 1 million signatures.”