My Experience Helping Fair Illinois
by patachon, Sun May 21, 2006 at 09:17:49 PM EDT
(The Anti-gay marriage referendum which has been making the rounds in several states has hit Illinois unfortunately. The product both of intolerance and cynicism, it has no place on the Illinois Ballot. FairIllinois.org is spear-heading a volunteer effort to check every signature to see if it's legit.)
I was there on Saturday at the FairIllinois Office and went through 20 petitions.
Everyone was in good humor and helped each other -- which is what you'd expect from progressives. I saw a number of couples come in both gay and straight. I got there at about one and after the short training by the affable Matt, I hunkered down to work.
The hours of operation are pretty open since there are a lot of these sheets to go through -- over 50,000 I think. Our job was to go through the list of people who had signed and make sure that their name and address checked out. Simple enough.
To tell you the truth, my perspective was to give each person the benefit of the doubt -- even though they had signed (whether they realized it or not) a completely foul piece of paper. If I couldn't find them under their name, I then looked under the address. I tried every way I could to make sure that if it were a legitimate signature that I wouldn't raise an objection to it.
Nevertheless, I found an enormous number of questionable errors. I even found the same person signing the thing twice -- at two different addresses neither of which were listed on the official rolls.
I finished up at around 5:30pm and people were still dropping by.
Judging by the results, I'd say not only was the petition drive mean-spirited but the people carrying it out were utterly sloppy about who they got to sign the things. Maybe they weren't anticipating people coming in later and actually checking on their work. Maybe they don't respect the democratic process enough to take the rules seriously.
Whatever. The bottom line is we all have an opportunity in a limited amount of time to help knock this piece of intolerance off the Illinois Ballot.