Lazy voter’s veto

Some local politicians are fighting for a constitutional amendment that would put an eight-year term limit on Illinois legislators. Their “Eight is Enough” campaign is attempting to get this proposal on the 1994 ballot.

They argue that limits would be a good way to fight the corruption of political power and would “make room for new people with fresh ideas to enter the political system.”

What Monsieurs Quinn and Botti seem to be doing is finding an easy way to get done what the voters fail to do—get the lazy, inefficient politicians out of office. Their proposal is working essentially to bypass the voters altogether when it comes to solving this problem.

Our system of democracy has evolved to ensure that the “people” determine who gets into office and how long he or she keeps that office. It is true that voters tend to be lazy and uninformed. It is also true that current election guidelines favor incumbents. Regardless of these facts, the solution should not be the adoption of term limits. Remember, even the limit on presidential terms could only be passed through an amendment to the Constitution.

Term limits are a very shortsighted solution to a long-term problem.

It is unfortunate that legislators who remain stagnant often spend too much time in their offices. Both national and state legislatures have these ineffective individuals growing cobwebs in chambers across the country.

However, incumbents often gain power in more traditionally underrepresented districts. Power is gained because these individuals have been effective.

It would be a discredit to both the legislators and citizens alike to give government more power to control the voting process.

Another problem would be lame duck legislators who lose voter accountability to voters as they enter their second term. A likely option would be caving in to special interests as the legislator prepares to enter the private sector in four years.

Term limits also would discourage the most qualified individuals from entering the public arena to the detriment of voters.

Term limits serve as a lazy voter’s veto. If the voters lose out with their candidate because of low turnout, it’s their own fault. Term limits are a blow to voting rights that Illinois voters should not tolerate.