In this 21st Century world, you still can't beat ping pong balls and a wooden box.
That's how the Illinois State Board of Elections determines who is first and who is last on the ballot, within the candidates' respective races. Those in line to file by 8 a.m. Nov. 23, the first day to file, are eligible for the drawing for first position. Those who file in the last hour of the filing period on the last day, Nov. 30, are eligible for another drawing, for the last position.
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Oswego software consultant James Marter, challenging U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) in the March 15 primary, was the only candidate to witness the drawing in person. “There is a statistic advantage to being first on the ballot, and that's why it's coveted,” he said.
Marter, a precinct committeeman whose only previous political run was long ago in Michigan, says Kirk's drifted too far to the left.
But --- numbered ping pong balls?
“This is simply the way we've done it for years and years and years,” said Brent Davis, the election board's director of election operations. “It's completely random, and we don't have to show any other proof that it is random. If it's not broke, don't fix it.”