Illinois’ Petition Challenge Buffoonery

-By Warner Todd Huston

I’ve mentioned the idiotic practice of petition challenges here in the Illinois electoral process several times in the past and the Chicago Reader just had a great piece by Ben Joravsky that really does a fine job highlighting some of the foolishness that goes on with these challenges.

Joravsky highlights the theater of the absurd that is Illinois petition challenges with two different challenges, one that was beaten back and one that wasn’t, and it reveals the total unfairness of the process with the fact that the whole thing is really little else but a corrupt incumbent protection racket.

The first one featured is the challenge that Deb Mell faced when she filed her petitions claiming that she was registered to vote at what she was claiming was her main place of residence. It turns out, however, she does not live where her registration says she does. This seemed a clear violation of election laws.

But Mell was able to beat back the petition challenge with the help of a high-priced lawyer supplied by the Democratic Party and some friendly officials at the board of elections.

Mell is, of course, the incumbent that the Democrat Party is trying to protect.

The second tale was one of woe where a non-incumbent was eliminated from the ballot through quite a lot of chicanery and game playing by the same high-priced, party sponsored attorney who was successful in disqualifying hundreds of the challenger’s petition signatures even when he had nearly 200 of them sign affidavits assuring the board of elections that they did, indeed, sign the petitions.

What we see here is that in both cases the Democrat Party supplied expensive attorneys (likely for free) to the incumbents so that the challengers would be beaten. Yet, in both cases, it was the claims of the challengers that had more merit.

Go on over to Ben Joravsky’s great story and you’ll see what I mean.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer, has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and is featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,,,,,, Human Events Magazine,, and the New Media Journal, among many, many others. Additionally, he has been a frequent guest on talk-radio programs to discuss his opinion editorials and current events and is currently the co-host of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Conservatism” heard on BlogTalkRadio. Warner is also the editor of the Cook County Page for

He has also written for several history magazines and appears in the new book “Americans on Politics, Policy and Pop Culture” which can be purchased on He is also the owner and operator of Feel free to contact him with any comments or questions : EMAIL Warner Todd Huston

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