Superstitions. Obsessions. Idiosyncracies. Steve Sandvoss sees them all from his post as director of the Illinois State Board of Elections. How else to explain the “race” to claim the final position on the election ballot in the candidates' respective contests for the Illinois primary on March 15? “We had a line of several hundred filers last Monday morning, all wanting to be part of the lottery to determine the top ballot position.” says Sandvoss, in his first year as director after many years as the board's general counsel. “Scholars have argued to what extent that's a benefit. Same thing with being last on the ballot. You figure, okay, if I can't be first, I want to be last, because people figure, oh, the best candidate goes to the bottom. I don't understand that, but they obviously feel that may give them an advantage.”
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The lottery is Dec. 9, determining which candidate – of those in line by 8 a.m. March 23, the first day the file – is first. Those vying for the final position are those who filed in the final hour of business Monday. Everybody else is in the middle, in order of when they filed. “If you're not first, would you rather be last?” said the very last candidate to file, Chris Harris, going for a Chicago-area statehouse seat.