Most often, the state of Illinois holds primaries to nominate candidates on the third Tuesday in March, near St. Patrick’s Day, and therefore perhaps in Cook County Judges Mary Margaret Brosnahan and James Patrick Murphy. However, this year’s primaries are on June 28. Why? Because in a chain reaction that began in 2020, COVID delayed a census that delayed the census, that detained candidates who learned where they would run and distribute petitions.
As a result, the distribution of the petition, which usually takes place in the fall, has been postponed to the winter. It was a big pain, said Thomas Nawinsky, who is running for Cook County Judge, a small enough office for him to collect signatures himself.
“It’s usually in September and October, so you have farmers’ markets, football games, Oktoberfest,” Novinsky said. “This time I tried to go to the“ L ”station and the metro, but the number of passengers dropped due to COVID. I asked friends and family to sign for me. “
“If it was easy, everyone would do it.”
On the other hand, Novinsky campaigned on the sidewalk near Jarvis Square Tavern in Rogers Park, at the 49th Ward’s Meet the Judges event. It was a balmy Saturday, and a dozen willing judges buttoned up neighbors who were drawn to the bar for free pizza at the tavern, free drinks and warm weather. Politicians cannot communicate with voters on the streets in March, not in Chicago.
The March primaries in Illinois were founded in 1970, allegedly because the Chicago machine wanted to make life difficult for independent candidates by forcing them to campaign all winter. (The first March primaries fell on St. Patrick’s Day, which angered many voters, as the law required taverns and liquor stores to close on election day. The law was quickly repealed.) In 2008, the primaries were temporarily postponed to February so Illinois could support Barack Obama’s beloved son on Super Tuesday.
Illinois chooses its candidates earlier than any other state. This means that we have a longer season of general elections and more political advertising than in any other state. Our unequivocally early primary contributes to the sense that politics never ends in Chicago.
Ann Luzin, a law professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago who helped draft the state constitution in 1970 and thus remembers when we adopted the primaries in March, considers June a step in the right direction. But she would like the primaries to take place even later.
“I have argued for many years that this should be in September,” Luzin said. “You want a relatively short time between the primary election and the general election.”
The March primaries, Luzen, mean that after losing and retiring, the candidates will be lame ducks for nine and a half months – as long as it takes to raise a child.
“The government can’t work,” she said. “They are cleaning the tables and looking for a new job. They will have nothing to offer. “I’m going to leave here next year. Why do I have to do something for you?
(After Senator Alan Dixon lost the Democratic primaries in March 1992 to Carol Mosley Brown, he still had to return to Washington to complete his term. “I can tell you it was not the funniest period of my long. a career in public service, ”he wrote in his autobiography, A gentleman from Illinois. “I felt uncomfortable with my colleague when I was still doing my business in committees and in the Senate, but I was doing my job.”)
Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Massachusetts are holding primaries in September, and their state governments are doing better than Illinois. Another advantage of the September primaries: the distribution of petitions and agitation will take place during the warm weather in Chicago.
But Kent Redfield, an honored professor of political science at Springfield University in Illinois, sees no change. He expects Illinois to return to its traditional primary schedule after this year.
“I think it’s a one-off, primarily because of the legislative calendar,” Redfield wrote in an email. “The need to have an overwhelming majority to adopt a budget after May 30 and when the fiscal year begins July 1 means you have to work on time so you can either make a primary and then make a budget, or make a budget and then make a primary. Politically, holding primaries first allows you to postpone voting, which can cause problems at primaries. The September primaries would have worked better in terms of making sure the budget was executed and that you still had plenty of time to campaign before the primaries. But this change would require everyone – candidates and participants – to face new dynamics and shorten the overall election campaign. Everyone is familiar with the dynamics of the March primaries, followed by a legislative session focused on the budget, and then a lot of time for general agitation. Politicians and politicians hate uncertainty. It is always difficult for them to abandon the status quo. “
It is possible that Illinois will end the vote even earlier than in March after this year. The Illinois Democratic Party has applied to make us a state for “early voting” in presidential primaries on the grounds that we are more typically American than white rural Iowa, which held the country’s first election since 1972.
“Illinois is a real test of what presidential candidates will face across the country, and how the first Illinois state can help strengthen Democratic presidential candidates in the primary and general election,” wrote Robin Kelly, chairman of the Democratic National Party. . Committee. “No state fits America’s demographics like Illinois.”
If the party’s bid is successful, the guerrilla primaries will be postponed to February to coincide with the presidential one. Unlike most states, many of which have better functioning governments, Illinois holds both at the same time.
At least the primaries will never fall on St. Patrick’s Day again. In February 2008, the primaries fell on Duck Day. It would not be so good for candidates for courts with Irish names, but it could be good for Thomas Navinsky.