The Most Absurd Ballot Challenge Yet

Vote for sister could cost veteran lawmaker

By Steve Rhodes
|  Saturday, Dec 5, 2009  |  Updated 10:55 AM CDT
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The Most Absurd Ballot Challenge Yet

flikr/United Republican Fund of Illinois

Rauschenberger is no Democrat.

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In yet another illustration of why Illinois need to revamp its ballot rules, former Republican state Sen. Steve Rauschenberger may be kicked off the ballot in his bid to reclaim the seat he held for 14 years because he pulled a Democratic ballot last time around to vote for his sister.

That, apparently, makes him a Democrat and ineligible to run in a Republican primary - even though he has run in Republican primaries for U.S. Senate, governor and lieutenant governor and is, uh, obviously a Republican. He's served as president of the United Republican Fund since 2006.

But no, voting for his sister, a state hearing officer has ruled, makes him a Democrat.

“It disgusts me," Rauschenberger told the Daily Herald.

To further the irony, the ballot challenge to Rauschenberger was lodged not by a fellow Republican but by the Democrats. That's right, the Democrats are trying to kick Rauschenberger off the ballot by claiming he is one of them. (And to further the irony further, the Democratic challenge is based on a previous successful challenge in another race brought by the Republicans.)

You know, you'd think the Dems would love the idea that even if their preferred candidate lost, one of their own would still win the seat.

But of course, Rauschenberger is not one of theirs, and they know it.

So does everyone else.

But ballot access is not about the truth in Illinois. It's about whose lawyers can best master absurd technicalities to their advantage.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, an award-winning Chicago-centric news and culture review.

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