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Primary bills that would help

In 2007, Illinois lawmakers wanted to be at the front of the primary line so the state could have a bigger role in helping favorite son Barack Obama get elected president. In 2008, the primary moved from March to Feb. 5.

But now as another presidential election year approaches, some state lawmakers want to move the primary to June or July. Their reason is not about the presidential race but their own. For example, Rep. Steven Andersson, R-Geneva, said he just took office and in nine months, he’ll have to start running for re-election.

“To me, that's too much time campaigning and not enough time legislating.” Agreed. Pushing back the date would also shorten the time that lawmakers serve as lame ducks. With a March primary, it’s 10 months between when someone other than the officeholder could win the party’s nomination and when a new lawmaker would take office. That’s far too long a span.

Another proposed primary change would be even more desirable: No longer requiring people to identify their party affiliation. There’s no public purpose to voters having to declare if they are Democrats or Republicans, and it discourages some people from voting in a primary.

Alas, these ideas likely will go nowhere. Democrats control both the Senate and House in Springfield. Why would they vote to change a system that works perfectly fine for them?

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