Illinois SB600 - No longer what we wanted it to be.

Since I was plotting to corner a Senator this weekend and grill him over dropping support of SB600, I thought I’d better bone up on my facts first. I started poking around on the State legislature site and discovered something interesting. There were 2 amendments to the bill before it was passed out of the Elections committee.

Perhaps I should give a little background before getting into the specifics. The Illinois elections code provides for the structures of political parties in the State. There are 2 alternatives A (the Republican one) and B (the Democrat one). Alternative A currently allows for the election of precinct or ward (in Chicago) committeemen who in turn select the state central committee. Each congressional district gets 1 central committee member. These members then select the state chairman. I’ll get to alternative B in a minute.

Sen. Chris Lauzen didn’t like this arrangement. He thought that it would be better to allow a direct election system where the central committee person from each congressional district is elected directly by the primary voters. I think the current system is serviceable, but I’m willing to entertain a direct election alternative. As Warner has posted elsewhere, there are good reasons to change back to a direct election system.

Senator Lauzen’s bill was pretty straightforward and I don’t see anything objectionable in it.

Now the current Democrat system is a little more convoluted. They believe that each district should have both a man and a woman representing the district. Their alternative specifies that the primary voters vote for 1 candidate and both the male receiving the highest number of votes among the male candidates and the woman receiving the highest number of votes get to the state committee. If there are only members of 1 sex running, the party appoints a member of the opposite sex to be the representative of their sex from the district.

The problem arises with Lauzen’s bill because someone amended it to make Alternative A look identical to alternative B.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t think someone should get elected or appointed to anything simply based on their sex. This amendment to the bill allows just that. We aren’t the party of identity politics. This bill now requires that we become one.