Letter to the editor

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

A call for choice

On March 20, my wife and I drove the few blocks to my local polling place, where I could have never imagined that exercising one of my most basic rights would cost me my dream. As we entered a friendly white haired elderly woman greeted me and handed me my ballot. As I glanced it over, I visualized my name on the ballot in the upcoming general election. With each bubble I filled in, my mission of being a state representative for the people came closer to an end.

On March 30, Public Act 97-0681 was enacted. This act prohibits primary partisan candidates from running independently in the general election. Then there was the fatefully “or”: “Or if a voter votes on a partisan ballot he or she is disqualified from running independently.” With this simple “or” my campaign for state representative and my opportunity to bring government back to people was crushed.

Ex post facto, or after the fact laws, are prohibited by both the Illinois and United States Constitution. Public Act 97-0681 retroactively punished me for voting. Take one second and consider this. I voted on March 20. Ten days later I was disallowed from running independently for office. This is wrong and unconstitutional. You might be asking yourself why I wanted to run for office in the first place. I had a passion to serve people, to run independently and be accountable to people, not party; to strive to reflect the wants of people and restore confidence in the political process. These goals are now put on hold because of a public act to protect the status quo.

The people of the 106th district will no longer have a choice in November. Well that is not entirely true; they can fill in the bubble or leave it blank. This law, Public Act 97-0681, undermines the political process. Representative democracy thrives on choice and that has now been prevented by an ex post facto law. Why was this law enacted? It was named “the sore loser” provision. I would like to call it the “self preservation” provision: politicians can increase the odds of winning by decreasing the competition. This is not an American value I am familiar with. Voters deserve choice and candidates should be challenged. Those are the American values I believe in.

I wanted to make a difference by running for office. This law, Public Act 97-0681, has forced me to change paths but not to stop my charge to challenge our current political environment. I want to make voters aware of this injustice and expose the strong push for self preservation by our elected officials. I will make it my duty to get more voters involved, support more independent candidates running for office, and force politicians to realize they should serve the people not themselves.

Friends, I regrettably inform you that I am suspending my campaign for state representative. Public Act 970681 disallows independent candidates who voted on a partisan ballot in the primary election. I voted on March 20; the provision was enacted March 30. The amendment retroactively makes my vote a disqualification for running. This is wrong. The Constitution protects us from ex post facto or after the fact laws, which this is. This is an injustice and my new mission is to make people aware of it. Thank you for your support and we still can make a difference.

Adam Herrmann