Monday, January 25, 2010

Radusa Ostojic out of 11th Subcircuit race

Radusa Ostojic, a personal injury defense attorney who was found qualified or recommended by both the Chicago Bar Association and each of the 11 members of the Alliance of Bar Associations for Judicial Screening, has dropped her bid to be elected to the bench from the 11th Judicial Subcircuit.

Ms. Ostojic was forced from the race after the Cook County Electoral Board sustained objections to her candidacy. A press release written by Christina Tobin, the CEO of Free & Equal, Inc., a company that describes itself as "a full-service ballot access consulting and petitioning firm specializing in ballot access for independent and third party candidates," picks up the tale:
Radusa Ostojic... faced two objections to her petitions. She overcame one attacking the validity of her signatures. However, her other objector Larry Kelly, working for self-appointed political operative Rodney McCulloch, made over 900 claims of fraud against her 669 total signatures in a scattershot attack which [was] upheld by the Cook County Board of Elections.

The Board... gave Kelly and McCulloch an extension simply because they failed to appear for the review of Ostojic's signatures by the hearing examiner, which initially found she had enough valid signatures.

Without notice to Ostojic, the Board reopened the signature review, which in this case found her to be 89 signatures short of the 500 required for ballot access. By the end of the hearing on Christmas Eve, the Board had restored 75 of these signatures, but refused to give her a similar extension to rehabilitate any signatures.

McCulloch received special treatment from the Board of Elections despite having been convicted just last year of perjury and election fraud by falsifying signatures on a candidate's petition. According to Ostojic, "Even Chairperson [Daniel] Madden was shaking his head in disbelief that my signatures were objected often stating the signatures on my petition are exactly the same as on the voter registration card."

Sadly, Ostojic has no money to go to court, and no time left to raise funds to continue the fight. Ostojic said, "If the point of democracy is to give people the voice to choose a candidate, that opportunity and right has now been taken away."
In an email to FWIW today, Ostojic noted that Kelly was represented before the Electoral Board by John W. Chwarzynski, himself an 11th Subcircuit candidate.

Free and Equal, Inc. suggests that the petition/objection process should be scrapped in favor of a filing fee system. Illinois "is only one of three states that uses" the petition/objection system, according to Tobin. "Meanwhile," she writes, "over two-thirds of the states simply require a filing fee to enter a party primary." This, Tobin suggests, would both save costs of administration and provide a new source of state revenue.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This seems completely fraudulent. What can be done to fix this issue?