The Grand Old Partisan of Illinois

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

What's in a Name?

The Sun-Times reports that Governor Blagojevich signed a bill “requiring candidates who have changed their names within three years before running to have a ‘formerly known as’ under their name [on the ballot].”

It seems that a number of candidates for judicial offices in Cook County have changed their name to sound Irish, because, “candidates with Irish names…tend to sweep judicial elections.” Well now, thanks to a bill signed by the Governor and sponsored by fellow Illinoize blogger State Rep. John Fritchey, only truly Irish candidates get the benefit of such ridiculously thoughtless voting habits.

Seriously, isn’t the fact that voters are selecting judges based on ethnicity to begin with a much more disconcerting issue? Granted, I’m not sure much can be done about that. In a democracy, people are certainly free to base their vote on whatever superficial criteria they want. But how far should the state go to help them do so? Should we start including the race or religious affiliation of a candidate after their name on the ballot, in case someone wants to base their vote on that?

Also posted, with comments (and a debate with Rep. Fritchey), at Illinoize

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