CHAMPAIGN, IL (October 18, 2012) – Yesterday, Senate Candidate John Bambenek joined a dozen other citizens in filing a lawsuit challenging the validity of the state constitutional amendment on the ballot commonly known as Amendment 49 (HJRCA49). The Amendment purports to require a 3/5ths vote for any pension benefit increase. The grounds for the suit are that the form of the question on the ballot and the amendment itself is deceptive, inaccurate and incomprehensible.
“The state constitution is a crucial document protecting citizens from the government. It should not be amendment lightly and certainly not using deceptive and false means by politicians. The ‘notice’ language on the top of the question is simply factually wrong, misleading to the voters and with the amendment text itself not on the ballot, voters will have no idea what they are actually voting for,” said Bambenek.
The notice language, codified in statute reads as follows:
Notice The Failure To Vote This Ballot May Be The Equivalent Of A Negative Vote, Because A Convention Shall Be Called Or The Amendment Shall Become Effective If Approved By Either Three-Fifths Of Those Voting On The Question Or A Majority Of Those Voting In The Election.
“Why is there a mention of a constitutional convention for this amendment? It’s factually wrong and misleading to use scary language to manipulate voters,” said Bambenek.
There are also differing interpretations of what the amendment will actually legally do. According to Professor John Kindt’s op-ed in the Champaign News-Gazette, this amendment would override the pension guarantee clause in the state constitution. Others disagree but there is no real consensus on what the actual amendment does. The amendment is poorly written and incomprehensible to even the experts, much less everyday voters.
“This amendment was written by the Dark Sith Lord Michael Madigan himself with some of the smartest people in the state and they couldn’t write something people could understand? I get that Madigan and his Chicago friends want to stick it to us, but could they do us the courtesy of doing it in a way we can understand? This ballot question and the amendment itself are incomprehensible gibberish,” explained Bambenek.
The suit is Bambenek et al v Illinois State Board of Election filed in the Champaign County Circuit Court. A hearing date is pending. The Plaintiffs are represented by area attorney Mark Hewitt with the help of the American Transparency Institute.