Mark S. Allen, Chairman and Lead Organizer
Voter Restoration Project, a voter advocacy coalition led by The Black Leadership Development Institute, BLDI and supported by The Monroe Foundation Inc.
449 East 35th Street, 1st Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60616
Todays Gubernatorial Debate sponsored by The Union League Club of Chicago and participants Governor Quinn and Senator Bill Brady shows why their is so much voter apathy at the grassroots level and Illinois voters need to speak up and reject this type of voter disenfranchisement by excluding from the Debate the candidacies of Rich Whitney of The Green Party and especially the candidacy of Independent candidate for Governor Scott Lee Cohen, where almost 150,000 Illinois voters signed petitions in order to see diversity of candidacies on the ballot and todays debate by the Union League Club has totally disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters.
How can The Union League Club promote democracy and fairness when you think of how many thousands of Illinois voters had to participate in the electoral process by signing petitions and going to the ballot box to formally establish Independent parties and candidacies. And why would State Senator Bill Brady and "Mr. Democracy" Governor Pat Quinn give credit to The Union League Club or any other Civic group who would purposely disenfranchise hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters who have asked to hear from all the candidates by doing what was necessary to ensure that multiple candidates to be on the November ballot.
Governor Quinn in particular has developed his political career of taking grassroots issues to the citizens of Illinois in creating The Citizens Utility Board (CUB) and other civic initiatives that were not supported by established political parties but were then recognized by the ordinary citizens through ballot initiatives, and you would think that today that Quinn would not give credit to a process that violates the wishes of hundreds of thousands of grassroots citizens who demanded to hear from multiple candidacies.
Illinois voters went to the polls to establish The Green Party and others for official ballot status and The Union League Club nor any other civic groups should take it upon themselves to deliberately disenfranchise the choices that voters helped to legitimize with their votes and signature petition process. You cannot decrease voter apathy by disenfranchising voters choices in candidates they went to great lengths to see recognized. We are upset that officials of The Union League Club or any other civic groups can watch all the political dynamics that created the candidacy of Scott Lee Cohen. After coming to voters with the background challenges he overcame in becoming a candidate, Illinois voters VOTED and made Cohen the number one choice to at one time be Democratic Nominee of Lieutenant Governor. Then after Cohen survived being forced to withdraw from the established Democratic Party ticket, then Cohen survived an even more increased media and established leadership expose bashing of even more of his background personal challenges in his life, almost 150,000 Illinois voters AGAIN went through the Democratic process and established Cohan as an Independent Candidate for Governor.! How does the Union League Club or any other civic group sponsoring future debates and forums deliberately tell hundreds of thousands of Illinois voters that their choices of Whitney, Cohen as Independent candidates on the November ballot will be disenfranchised.
Following the Debate today with Brady and Quinn, voters will then get the opinions of Whitney and Cohen from other locations when Illinois voters should have been abler to hear them all at the same time today and in future forums. Its what thousands and thousands of Illinois voters demanded through the ballot box and proper signature petition process and they deserve not to be deliberately disenfranchised. .