OT: are you ready to vote?

So right now there are big pushes to get folks out to vote. I have been chatting with Jamar Brown about his awesome trip out east for the Democratic National Convention, and he was really pumped up about it. He also relayed how he was struck with how little political discussion we have here in Champaign.

So on that note, I bring a microcosm (or rather, a nanocosm) of IlliniPundit. When I looked at my specimen ballot, the very first thing is this wall of text about amending the Illinois State Constitituion. When I read it, I was completely confused. So I started calling folks. I’ll not drop names (except one) to keep the guilty hidden for now. 🙂 But I didn’t get many helpful answers until I finally talked to Senator Mike Frerichs – his advise was very sound. Something to the extent of “If the wording doesn’t make sense, you probably do not want to vote for an amendment to the state constitution.” Right-o, buddy! It boggles my mind that we have something this big to vote on (I mean, changing the Constitution for crying out loud!!) and nobody is talking about it? I cannot even find someone who fully understands it. I have heard theories and rumors about labor unions, etc, but I do not understand why this question of changing the constitution is even on the ballot in the first place. Is this the will of the people? Is this even a good thing for the people? What if we had a ballot question that asked you about whether or not Siberia should have a 3/5th vote on the Yukurzi Committee’s policies (*evil grin* google is not your friend today, but feel free to try)? Would you vote yes? Would you vote no? Where is the relevance? We have no context.

On another note, we have something a bit more closer to home; Municipal Electric Aggregation. Interestingly enough, I have talked to a few people on both sides of the fence (politically but also in terms of support of this measure) and have received some interesting viewpoints. From what I have gathered, Power Smart Pricing is potentially cheaper (depending on your usage), and even with MEA you have the option of opting-out. In fact, if you have Power Smart now, you are not automatically opted into MEA, which I think is a good thing. Regardless, there is still a huge lack of public discourse about these items. And we call ourselves a democracy?!? Ha!

And I haven’t even gotten to the races and candidates. Personally, I am less enthused about that section. But I understand that some of you are very passionate about the positions and offices.

Early voting starts October 22nd – I intend to know exactly how I want to vote by that date.

Oh IP, how I miss you some days.

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11 Responses to “OT: are you ready to vote?”

  1. pattsi Says:

    As to the constitutional amendment, I do not understand the basic question as to why would one amendment the state constitution. This is a democracy. Second, we as a state passed up the opportunity to have a constitutional convention, an opportunity to really dig and discuss the constitution put in place in early 1970. Just a reminder when the citizens of the state voted against a constitutional convention, this option can not be put on the ballot for another several decades. Since this is the case, how else can the constitution be changed other than an amendment.
    Now specifcally to this amendment, first question is how in the world did it get on the ballot. Well our state legislators voted to so. Next, one needs to ask the question as to why since this amendment, if passed, begins the chipping away of all pensions for state employees, teachers, police, fire, etc. Have you now figured out why the legislators voted that the amendment be on the ballot. If the citizens vote in favor, the legislators can change the playing field related to pensions without having to make their own decision, but argue that the citizens told us to do so.

    As to discuss about electric aggregation–there was a lot of PR to convince people to vote “for” when this referendum was on the ballots in Champaign and Urbana. The campaign was much akin to the one use to pass the 1% sales tax. In other words very little pro and con nor long term effects. And by state statute if the referendum is passed, one has to opt out, NOT opt in.

  2. charlesdschultz Says:

    http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Illinois_Constitutional_Convention_(2008):

    Con-Con Yes, a group headed by state Rep. Jack Franks, hired Democrat political consultant Michael Noonan to assist in their effort.

    These guys need a refund. So when I start the 2028 Con-Con Yes campaign, I will stay away from this Noonan person. 🙂

  3. Laura B. Says:

    Are legislative pensions included in the amendment? Not that it matters, because they’ll never cut their own.

  4. charlesdschultz Says:

    @pattsi: if those links are accurate (and I am inclined to believe they are), then I would expect this to be in our newspaper, radio and TV news media. Has it been? (I do not follow them closely so I cannot say). If not, why the heck not?!?

    If these articles are accurate, then I am very upset on several different levels:
    1. Why legislatures have the gall to further strip power from their constituents
    2. Why did the question even get on the ballot – it should have been shot down and legislators slapped with a fine
    3. Why there is no more outcry, why people are not upset the rug is being pulled out from under them

    So now my task is to figure out how accurate these articles are. Which is difficult because they make a lot of sense and paint a picture of government that is easy to believe (sadly). What does not make sense is why there is not more shouting going on.

  5. pattsi Says:

    The first article mentioned comes from the SUAA web site, for what that is worth.

  6. charlesdschultz Says:

    Umm….. *blank stare*

  7. pattsi Says:

    SUAA State Universities Annunitants Associaiton http://www.suaa.org/ duh!!!!!

  8. Michelle Petty Says:

    League of Women Voters has put together a couple of upcoming candidate debates:

    Thursday, October 18 at 7PM at the Champaign City Building.
    104th Chad Hays (Inc-R) & Michael Langendorf ( D)
    103rd (Naomi Jakobsson (Inc-D) & Rob Meister (R)
    52nd (Mike Frerichs (Inc-D) & John Barnbenek ( R)
    Moderators will be Carolyn Casady Trimble and Sandra Kato.

    Wednesday, October 24th at 7PM at the Champaign City Building
    County-wide offices
    Auditor: George Danos (D) and John Farney (R)
    Circuit Clerk: Barbara Wysocki (D) and Katie Blakeman (R)
    County Clerk: Charlie Smith (D) and Gordy Hulton (R)
    Recorder: Barb Frasca (R) and D’Anne Winston (D)
    Moderated by Sandra Kato and Theresa Michelson.

    And WILL has one in November:
    13th CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT DEBATE
    Thursday, November 1st on WILL-TV
    Includes Davis (R), Gill (D), and Hartmann (I) and moderated by LWVIL.

    Though, Charles, you might end more confused after the debate than before…;)

  9. pattsi Says:

    Unfortunately, all of the unchallenged candidates are not getting any “debate” time. The assumption that no competition means no choice. But this is not true. The choice is vote for the single candidate or not. Therefore it is just as important to know about single candidates as it is those in competitive races.

  10. charlesdschultz Says:

    @pattsi:

    And by state statute if the referendum is passed, one has to opt out, NOT opt in.

    According to the City of Champaign:

    Will every resident and small business in the City receive an opt-out letter?
    Customers listed below who are not on the Ameren default rate cannot be guaranteed savings through the City’s aggregation program and will not be automatically enrolled in the program:

    Ameren customers on Power Smart Pricing, Hourly Supply Service, or Real Time Pricing; or
    Customers under contract with a Retail Electric Supplier.These customers received an opt-in letter from the City in July and were given the opportunity to join the City’s program.


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