Early voting has begun for the 2018 primary election in Illinois. The early voting window runs from March 5th to March 19th, the day before the March 20th Election Day.
Voters must choose a ballot at their polling place: Republican, Democrat, Green (where available), or nonpartisan. The nonpartisan ballot will have only referenda (ballot questions), without any individual candidates.
Green Party Ballots Available
Illinois holds primary elections for "established parties." The Illinois Green Party is established in Cook County and the 12th Congressional District, which covers all of Alexander, Franklin, Jackson, Jefferson, Monroe, Perry, Pulaski, Randolph, St. Clair, Union and Williamson counties, and part of Madison County.
In those areas, voters will be able to ask for a Green Party ballot during early voting and on Election Day, March 20th.
Voters cannot cast votes for Green Party candidates, including write-in votes, on any other party's ballot. Those votes will be discarded.
Green Party Turnout is Essential In Cook County!
In Cook County, a vacancy created by the death of Commissioner Timothy Bradford will be on primary ballots as a write-in-only primary, with no ballot-listed candidate names. (This is true on all party's ballots, not just the Green Party ballot.)
For a write-in candidate in a primary election to advance to the general election, a minimum number of votes must be met. In the "Vacancy of Bradford" election, that number is 1,720 votes.
That means we need 1,720 suburban Cook County voters to pull the Green Party ballot, and cast a write-in vote for the Green Party's registered write-in candidate, Geoffrey Cubbage.
If we do not receive at least 1,720 write-in votes for Geoffrey Cubbage from suburban Cook County voters, we will not have a candidate for that seat in the general election.
For more information on the "Vacancy of Bradford" election, and detailed instructions on how to cast your write-in vote, please visit the "How to Vote" page on the Greens for MWRD campaign website.
Real talk for the Prairie State: it's hard to look down a Republican or Democrat primary ballot in Illinois and not find at least one race where the best option is "Oh God, anyone but them," and we all know it.
In a state where the only official record of a voter's partisan allegiance is their choice of primary ballot, that leaves a lot of voters nominally affiliated with parties within which they'd honestly rather not vote for most of the candidates, and are only pulling the ballot to influence one or two races that they actually care about.
There is a way out of the lousy-candidate trap, but it requires voters to take a brave stance: cast a vote that boycotts the primaries of both establishment parties in an active and recorded way, either by pulling an alternate party's ballot where it's available, or by pulling the nonpartisan, referenda-only ballot as a vote of "no confidence" in both the Democrat and Republican slates.
Voters in the 12th Congressional District (southern Illinois) and in nearly all of Cook County (the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago) will have the option of pulling a Green Party ballot this year, thanks to the party's work in gaining "established" status despite the significant barriers written into Illinois law. In those places, the party has candidates on the ballot, and in the case of the Water Reclamation District race needs at least 1,720 Cook County voters to pull the Green Party ballot and participate in the write-in-only primary set by the Cook County Clerk's office to fill a vacancy.
In the rest of the state, voters can still ask for a nonpartisan ballot, which will feature only the statewide and local referenda questions, with no candidates of any party listed. Either option sends a clear message to both Democrats and Republicans: "No thank you; your candidates this year weren't good enough for me."Read more
The Unannounced Election
Cook County voters in the March 20th primary election are going to see something unusual on their ballots: an election with no candidates, just a blank ballot line and the option to cast a write-in vote.
It will likely take most people by surprise, since the Cook County Clerk's office, the election authority for county-wide races in Cook County, has issued no public statements, voter notices, press releases, or other information regarding the ballot line.
Established political parties received notification of a special write-in-only primary via their central committees, less than a week before the filing deadline for write-in candidates and less than a month before the start of early voting. Other than that legally-mandated notification, the Clerk's office has been silent on the subject.
So, What's the Secret Election For?
The write-in-only ballot line is for a seat on the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) Board of Commissioners, the nine-member elected body that oversees Cook County's billion-dollar, taxpayer-funded wastewater treatment and flood abatement agency.
For more than twenty years, the MWRD Board of Commissioners has been an all-Democrat body, and a functional rubber-stamp on all private contracts put before the Board for approval.
Termed the "Unexpired 2-Year Term (Vacancy of Bradford)" on March 20th primary ballots, the write-in-only primary will determine which candidates are listed on the general election ballots in November for an open seat on the MWRD Board of Commissioners, left vacant by the December 2017 death of sitting Commissioner Timothy Bradford.