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Quinn Signs Legislation Forbidding Candidates From Switching Political Parties During Election Cycle

By Chuck Sudo in News on Mar 30, 2012 10:00PM

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, pictured here in Brussels last week. (Photo via Gov. Quinn's Flickr page.)

Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law HB 2009 today, which amends Illinois' election code to prevent a potential candidate from switching parties during a general election cycle.

The amendment, which is effective immediately, seems intended to keep Tom Swiss off the ballot for November's general election in the state's 10th legislative district. Swiss, the former chairman of the Chicago Republican Party and until recently the Republican committeeman for the 27th Ward, lost last week's Democratic primary race against State Rep. Derrick Smith, who was charged in the days before the primary of accepting a bribe.

Quinn and Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White—Smith's political backer—had no comment about Smith's arrest before the primary, but called for him to resign after he defeated Swiss. The Illinois House has opened an investigation of Smith. Quinn said of the investigation, "I really feel that Rep. Smith would do himself a favor by taking the advice of Secretary of State Jesse White and many, many others and resigning. If he doesn't resign, I think Rep. Smith should be aware that he may indeed be expelled."

Swiss, according to Capitol Fax's Rich Miller in a Monday Sun-Times column, switched parties to face Smith because he considered residents of the district to be "extremely low-information voters;" a whitewashed way of saying Swiss thought they were black and dumb.

After discovering that residents in the district weren't falling for his subterfuge, there have been intimations that Swiss would re-declare as a Republican to face Smith, or whomever Democrats choose to run in November should Smith resign.