Who will serve as Illinois' next governor isn't the only question voters will answer on November 2.
About 18 months ago (and just five months after Rod Blagojevich's impeachment), the General Assembly voted to place on the 2010 ballot a constitutional amendment (HJRCA 31)
offering Illinois residents the opportunity to recall a sitting
governor. If approved, the process to remove Illinois' chief executive
would be intense.
First, the pol must serve in office for six months. If he or she
qualifies, at least 20 lawmakers from the House and 10 from the Senate
(including an equal number of Democrats and Republicans in each
chamber) must agree to launch the recall process. Finally, the
signature gathering would start; individuals seeking to remove the
governor would have 150 days to collect names equal to 15 percent of
the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. On top of that, over
100 signatures must be obtained from at least 25 counties. If recall
backers succeed, a special election would be scheduled.
Both major party gubernatorial candidates support the initiative; last year, Gov. Pat Quinn called it
"the ultimate ethics measure." Although 18 states have a gubernatorial
recall option on the books, citizens have only exercised that right
twice in U.S. history and only once (Gray Davis in California) since
1921. Critics worry
that the threat of recall could make executives more politically
cautious. Reformers say the process included in this bill is too
cumbersome to exploit. Voters haven't decided yet with whom they agree; a
Suffolk University poll released yesterday showed 48 percent in favor and 44 percent opposed.