Don Harmon defends doubling signature requirement . . .

. . . for Chicago aldermen, to match suburbs’ requirement. This is his first defense:

. . . while the standard in Chicago has been at least 2 percent of the number of voters who cast ballots in the last aldermanic election, in most suburbs the standard is 5 percent.

Harmon sees no reason for that discrepancy.

Another defense:

. . . more important, filing petitions is, in the view of Mr. Harmon and some others, an initial test of viability, not only for the candidate but for the candidate’s ability to govern, should he or she actually win. If you can’t successfully obtain 400 or 500 or 600 valid signatures, Mr. Harmon argues, what makes you think you can run and then perform your duties as alderman?

Huh? But incumbents have the money and organization that gives them an edge in passing this test. They caught the eye and support of the big guys, and petition filing is what these guys are good at.

Harmon further:

If voters want a real choice, he concludes, they’re better off focusing on two or three real contenders with real support. “Cluttering” up the ballot with a bunch of nobodies merely distracts everyone.

Distracts? Cluttering up the ballot? Nobodies lacking real support? Well, we can’t have that now. I mean really!

In sum, the deserving candidate will need 1,000 or more signatures, notes the writer, veteran (since at least the late ’70s) Greg Hinz:

. . . with any excess needed to fight off the inevitable ballot challenge. In a town in which multiple dozens of aldermen have gone to the pokey on corruption charges in recent decades, I’m not sure that making it harder to run against entrenched incumbents and power brokers is a good idea.

Well, when you put it that way, maybe Harmon will see it differently. Maybe? . . .

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