If you are a Republican voter in Illinois, read on to join the lawsuit.
IL ELECTION CODE VIOLATES EQUAL PROTECTION SAYS GOP ACTIVIST
Chicago, IL – GOP activists say they will file a legal challenge to the Illinois Election Code, contending it violates the equal protection of Republican voters and denies them the right to vote for their party leadership.
“Illinois election law treats Republican and Democrat voters differently,” says longtime GOP activist William J. Kelly. “Why is that Democrat primary voters directly elect their party leadership, but Republican voters do not? With this lawsuit, we are going to challenge the constitutionality of that law.”
Under 10 ILCS 5/7-8, the Illinois Republican Party is currently run by a 19-member State Central Committee, one member from each ofIllinois’ congressional districts – none of whom are directly elected.
But Kelly says that, in the late 1980s, two party bosses, Republican Gov. James Thompson and party chair Al Jourdan engineered a sudden change to the Illinois election code to consolidate their power, stripping GOP voters of the right to vote for their party leadership. Illinois Republicans had that right for more than a century.
Conservatives argue that this has resulted in a lack of any accountability to GOP primary voters and party corruption.
To date, state GOP bosses have successfully thwarted any attempt to return to direct elections both legislatively with the passage of SB600 and SB35 and, most recently, at the Illinois Republican Convention.
At the Illinois Republican convention last week, state GOP leaders in an unelected 11-7 committee decision determined that delegates would not be permitted a floor vote on “direct elections” – a move that would have restored voting rights to the Republican electorate.
Kelly points out that convention rules are determined by unelected party representatives and committee members are also appointed by unelected party officials – which bolsters the legal argument to restore equal treatment of Republican voters in the political process.
Republican voters have also complained that they were denied delegate credentials and conservatives are now questioning the validity of the convention proceedings in general.
“In 1724, Catholics inIrelandwere denied the right to vote. Prior to 1870, Black Americans were denied the right to vote. American women marched in the streets for decades for the right to vote,” says Kelly. “But in 2012, Illinois Republicans do not have the right to vote for their party leadership.
Kelly was involved with another federal legal challenge to voting rights. In 1995, his political action committee filed a lawsuit against the First and Fourth Congressional Districts, charging that they were gerrymandered and unconstitutional and reached the U.S. Supreme Court.
“We lost 6-3 in that decision,” said Kelly of that suit. “But we fought. Hopefully, we will have better luck this time around. The law is definitely on our side.”
If you are a Republican voter and would like to join the class action lawsuit, email firstname.lastname@example.org.