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posted: 2/10/2010 12:01 AM

Who needs voters if you have parties?

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As the latest political controversy saga plays out following the withdrawal of Democratic lieutenant governor candidate Scott Lee Cohen, it is ever more apparent how Illinois voters have less and less say in who represents them. The Democratic Party (not voters) will choose the person who will run as Pat Quinn's running mate in November.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with Cohen's pulling out of the race, his withdrawal (just days after the primary) subverts the entire election process. And regardless of the irrelevant arguments about the value of having a lieutenant governor job, voters will have had no say in choosing who will run for an entire term.

This is exactly what happened when Roland Burris was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Obama. The Democratic Party (not voters) chose Burris. This is exactly what happened when Todd Stroger was appointed to fill the job as Cook County Board chairman. The Democratic Party (not voters) chose Stroger.

The regularity with which voters are being eliminated from having any say in who represents them is more than a little disturbing. It is why so many people are disgusted with politics in general, and within the state specifically. It is no wonder so few people exercise their right to vote. To paraphrase a famous movie line, "Voters, we don't need no stinkin' voters!"

Richard Benson

Mount Prospect