April 6th, 2005

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Voting HILARITY!

This is the most hilarious thing I've seen in politics.

We all learned (if we were paying attention, because it was mentioned ONCE in passing in a special unit on local government in 6th grade that we were sleeping during) that Illinois is divided into counties and that counties are divided into townships. Anyone who votes or deals with city council is vaguely aware of townships because there's this weird overlap between townships and cities. Cities have most of the power, counties have most of the power outside of the cities, but the township has some weird powers. Your voting precinct is based on your township. Back home the library and fire departments were funded by the townships. Most townships are boxy subdivisions of the county. We learned in that 6th grade class that this is how land was initially divided up, the state was made of counties and counties were made of townships and townships were further divided into smaller units until you got to your lot and it was all very boxy and grid like.

As it turns out Illinois has TWO kinds of townships. There's the "civil" townships and the "congressional" townships. They have SLIGHTLY different borders and different laws refer to one or the other.

This actually matters right now because the law for the silliest government office ever: Champaign-Ford County Regional Board of School Trustees. The law apparently dictates that only one person from each congressional township is allowed to be on this board. But one of the people running for this office (the top vote getter) is from the Tolono township and someone from that township is already on the board. This is such an unbelievable mess and apparently the state board of elections have to be the ones to sort it out. This brings up all kinds of questions about whether the Tolono candidate should have even been allowed on the ballot, whose job it is to verify whether people should be allowed to be on the ballot, whose job it is to verify whether people who win elections should be allowed to be seated, etc. This whole thing would even be more complicated if two people from the same township ran at the same time! Wow. I mean how are voters supposed to know that certain candidates are ineligible and votes for them are wasted when the system is so byzantine?

It'll be fun to watch this thing play out.

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