Recall amendment going to print as Blago trial begins

2010-06-02T12:06:00Z 2010-06-24T02:54:11Z Recall amendment going to print as Blago trial beginsBy Kurt Erickson | kurt.erickson@lee.net pantagraph.com

SPRINGFIELD -- If daily news coverage of former Gov. Rod Blagojevich's federal corruption trial isn't enough, Illinois voters will get a reminder of the Chicago Democrat's behavior in their own mailboxes sometime later this summer.

As Blagojevich's trial gets underway in Chicago Thursday, state officials are seeking bids for the printing and mailing of more than 5 million copies of a proposed constitutional amendment that will be on the November general election ballot.

The proposed change would give voters the right to take steps to remove a sitting governor from office in the middle of his or her term.

The proposed amendment, which gained momentum after Blagojevich's arrest in December 2008, emerged as the only one of dozens introduced over the last two years to win enough support to make it on the ballot.

It will go into effect if 60 percent of voters vote "yes."

Last month, the Illinois Secretary of State's office began the lengthy process of preparing voters to answer the question.

In bidding documents, vendors are asked how much it will cost to print and mail a booklet describing the recall measure to 5.2 million households.

Most of those will be printed in English, but some will be printed in Spanish and Chinese.

In 2008, the last time a constitutional question was on a general election ballot, the estimated cost of printing and distributing the booklets was about $200,000.

That cost might have been higher had lawmakers approved other constitutional amendment questions before them.

This year alone they rejected dozens of proposals, including a push to reform how the state draws its political boundaries and an effort to eliminate the position of lieutenant governor.

As for the recall proposal, winning approval of the constitutional amendment is just the first step.

If recall is desired, voters would have to first get approval to launch a petition drive from 30 state lawmakers, with no more than half coming from one political party.

Voters supporting recall would then have to collect signatures from 15 percent of the total number of voters in the previous election over a five month span.

At that point, a special election would be scheduled to determine whether the governor should be booted from office.

Copyright 2015 pantagraph.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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