Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=103863
Story Retrieval Date: 5/18/2013 7:46:52 PM CST
Illinois voters have decided that the state's 38-year-old constitution will do just fine for at least another 20 years.
At the top of the Illinois ballot Tuesday, voters were asked whether they wanted to call a constitutional convention to revise the Illinois Constitution.
The last convention was in 1970. At that time, the state was replacing a woefully outdated constitution that had lasted a century.
Because of the problems that had accrued over those 100 years, the framers of the 1970 document built in a clause that called for voters, every 20 years, to say whether to convene a new convention.
In 1988, the previous time the question was called, 75 percent of the voters rejected the option.
Now, 20 years later, Illinois voters contemplated the option again.
However, this time around, general dissatisfaction with state government seemed to have affected voters’ opinions.
With 85 percent of precincts reporting, nearly 70 percent of voters said 'no' to a new convention.
One of the chief features of the new constitution, proponents said, would have been an option to recall statewide elected officials. Voters could petition for a recall election to consider the performance of elected officials once they have been in office for six months.
Critics of the motion for calling a constitutional convention cited waste as the main concern, since the event would require the dedication of state money. The option of holding recall elections has often been criticized as creating a loophole for losing candidates in tight races to try to take down their opposition.
Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been a large part of voters’ discontent, garnering merely a 13 percent approval rating in a recent poll conducted by the Chicago Tribune, the lowest recorded rating for an elected politician and 5 percentage points lower than President George W. Bush’s approval rating in Illinois.