Archive for the '2008 Democratic Primary' Category

Watch Primary Results with Local Dems!

WHAT: Primary Results-Watching Party
WHEN: Tomorrow, Tues. March 4th, starting at 6:30pm
WHERE: Rock’s in Champaign

Voters in Texas, Ohio, Vermont, and Rhode Island are going to the polls tomorrow, and could determine our party’s presidential nominee in November. Will Obama consolidate his lead, and secure the nomination? Will Hillary stop his momentum and fight on to the convention? We’ll find out tomorrow night when the results come in from these four key states.

Gather with local Democrats at Rock’s to watch the results as they come in tomorrow, Tuesday March 4th, starting at 6:30pm. Rock’s is located in Champaign on Springfield Ave., near the railroad tracks, between First and Neil Street. Join us for good company, food & drink, and MSNBC as we watch the results come in from Dayton to Dallas!

Party with Democrats on Super Tuesday!

Regardless of the election results, Democrats are going to have a lot to celebrate on Super Tuesday! Join fellow Dems after the polls close for the Democratic Victory Party at Rock’s in Champaign. Gather with friends, enjoy food & drink, and watch the results come in from Illinois and around the country (Yes, I asked — they do have MSNBC at Rock’s!).

WHAT: Democratic Victory Party
WHERE: Rock’s (between campus and downtown Champaign, on Springfield Ave., between First Street and the railroad tracks)
WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 5, 8:00pm – ?

If you have any questions, e-mail Tony at or call at 355-1693. Hope to see you there!

Candidate Forum for Champaign County State’s Attorney

There will be a candidate’s forum for the office of Champaign County State’s Attorney this Wednesday, January 30, 2008.  The forum will be held at 6:00pm in the University of Illinois Law School Auditorum, which is located at 504 E. Pennsylvania Ave. in Champaign.

All three candidates currently running in the February 5th primary are scheduled to attend.  These include:

Ivy & Rietz are running against each other in the Democratic primary.  The winner will face Republican Miller-Jones in the November 4th general election.  Julia Rietz currently holds the office of State’s Attorney for Champaign County.

This candidate’s forum is sponsored by the University of Illinois Law School Chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Obama wins in earliest poll

While most political pundits are awaiting tonight’s results from the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, an even earlier contest has already been won by Illinois Senator Barack Obama.

That’s right — results are in from the Champaign County Democrats’ Presidential Penny Poll, and Sen. Obama has been declared the winner by a wide margin.  Obama’s penny “vote” total came to $26.23, which beat Hillary Clinton, the next closest candidate, by almost a 4-to-1 margin.  Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich came in third place, with former Sen. John Edwards a close fourth.

The Penny Poll was a featured attraction at the Democratic booth at several community events this past year, including the Champaign County Fair, Taste of C-U, and Urbana Farmers’ Market.  Participants were asked to place a penny in the bottle of the candidate (or candidates) of their choice.  Yes, it’s a completely unscientific poll, but it’s still a great sign of support in Champaign County for Barack Obama, as well as for the entire Democratic field, and the local Democratic Party.

Here are the results, in order, listed in total dollar amounts:

1.  Barack Obama … $26.23

2.  Hillary Clinton … $6.07

3.  Dennis Kucinich … $5.47

4.  John Edwards … $5.20

5.  Bill Richardson … $2.86

6.  Mike Gravel … $0.63

7.  Joe Biden … $0.58

8.  Christopher Dodd … $0.09

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Penny Poll, and thanks also to everyone who helped staff the Democratic booths where the Penny Poll was conducted!

Why I oppose IRV for Urbana

Early this week (11/27) I filed a formal objection to including the Instant Runoff Voting for Urbana referendum on the February 2008 primary election ballot. For those who came in late on this issue, I’d like to share my reasons for doing this.

First, a disclaimer. I filed the objection on my own behalf, not as Vice-Chair of the Champaign County Democratic Party, and not at the request of the party or in collaboration with any official affected by the referendum. I object because I believe that IRV is a bad idea for progressive government in my home town. In my opinion, the petition itself and the concept behind it are flawed for technical, mathematical, and political reasons.

Technically, the referendum contained in the IRV for Urbana Petition is not a municipal referendum submitted to the voters for their approval. The News-Gazette reports that the proponents intend it to be a binding referendum, but it has about half the signatures required for such an initiative under 10 ILCS 5/28-7. It may not be an advisory referendum either, since it orders Urbana to enact, repeal, or amend such unspecified ordinances and statutes as required to implement a concept described in the petition. In any case, it is unclear about how it affects primary elections. Does it eliminate them, subject them to IRV, or leave them untouched? These ambiguities prevent voters from making an informed decision on the matter, so the petitions are void and the proposed referendum should not appear on the February ballot. (Since you ask, I think it does not affect primaries.)

Mathematically, the proponents are trying to achieve the impossible. IRV voting is, they claim, eminently more fair and democratic than the traditional “plurality” method. I disagree. Amateurs and experts tried for a hundred years to perfect a satisfactory voting methodology for elections involving more than two candidates. Several ingenious schemes were devised, but all were wanting in some respect. That is, every method proposed could produce results that would violate one of the fundamental principles of “fair elections”. Then, halfway through the 20th century, a young mathematician turned economist effectively ended the hunt by proving (Arrow’s Theorem) that an eminently satisfactory multi-candidate voting methodology does not exist. Since we currently employ a very democratic (understood by all voters) system whose effects and strategies are clear and tolerable, I suggest below that progressives in Urbana continue to make good use of the system we already have. The plurality method can be described as: “Vote for the candidate of your choice. Whoever gets the most votes wins”. Sometimes unsatisfactory? Perhaps, but Arrow showed that all methods are. Simple? Transparent? Easily verified? Universally understood? Absolutely.

Finally, at the practical political level, IRV will accomplish nothing for progressive government in Urbana. Our city has become a model of modern good government, a cosmopolitan oasis in central Illinois. We didn’t need to “fix” the vote-counting process to get this done. We built this city the old-fashioned way, with important issues, excellent candidates, generous donors, scores of organized, hard-working activists, and a progressive local Democratic party. Why should we now dismantle the very system that has worked so well for Urbana?

Change for its own sake is often a waste of resources, and it can sometimes be counter-productive. IRV proponents have the burden of proof to demonstrate that implementing a novel election scheme will produce significantly better results for Urbana voters without exposing us to unacceptable downside risks. I believe they have failed to meet that burden, and I cannot support IRV for Urbana.

Obama Community Kickoff Event

Obama Community Kickoff Event
Hosted by Sen. Mike Frerichs & Rep. Naomi Jakobsson

The Obama campaign is promoting this event to kickoff its efforts to build a network of grassroots supporters one community at a time. Thousands of these community kickoff events will be held simultaneously all across the country.

After brief remarks from Sen. Frerichs & Rep. Jakobsson, we will watch a live broadcast from a home in Iowa were Barack Obama will be conducting a discussion on the campaign’s grassroots community organizing efforts.

Following the broadcast, we will discuss what you can do right now to help the Obama campaign in Champaign County!

Drinks and refreshments will be served!

  • Time: Saturday, March 31 at 2:30 PM
  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Host: Justin Cajindos
  • Contact Phone: 708.296.8138
  • Location: Democratic HQ, 14 E. Washington, Champaign, IL 61820

View Map:

Associated Groups:

Directions: Located near corner of Washington & Neil in downtown Champaign, close to The Orpheum Children’s Science Museum

Hope. Action. Change.: On March 31, people across America open their homes to friends, family, and neighbors to kick off a week of support for a movement Barack Obama and the movement to change America.

Primary Colors

Should Illinois move its primary up to February 5th in 2008? Illinois House Speaker (and Democratic Party Chair) Mike Madigan has introduced legislation to do just that, claiming that an earlier primary would boost the fledgling campaign of our very own favorite son, Sen. Barack Obama.

With Senate President Emil Jones and Governor Blagojevich both favorable to the idea, the earlier primary looks likely to happen, but I’m still not sure if I support this. I certainly favor giving Illinois voters (both Democratic & Republican) a say in who our next president is. I think it would have been smarter for Speaker Madigan to sell this as the reason for the date change, not helping Obama. Also as president of the College Democrats, I favor anything that gets our members hooked in and busy early; having to circulate ballot petitions as early as mid August would certainly do the trick.

What are some of the drawbacks of this plan? Well for starters, have you ever gone door to door in January and February? As someone who has, I can tell you it ain’t much fun. County Clerk Mark Shelden was correct (I can’t believe I said that) when he pointed out that if there had been a primary this year on Feb. 5th, voters would have had to battle a blizzard to get to the polls. Besides the obvious weather issues, I think a very early primary unfairly favors incumbents and wealthy self-funded candidates, who don’t have to rely on going to door to build name recognition as much as challengers and grassroots candidates.

What do you think?

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