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Editorial: A chance for Guv to let voters have their say

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner. | Associated Press file photo

Gov. Bruce Rauner is fond of accusing Illinois Democrats of political chicanery. Hardly a week goes by when he doesn’t say as much in one way or another.

If Rauner cares to walk the talk, though, showing he operates at a higher level of political ethics, he has a terrific opportunity to do so right now in the northwest suburban 27th Senate District.

The Republican incumbent, Matt Murphy of Palatine, is smack-dab in the middle of a four-year term, but he has announced he is going to resign his seat. That creates an ideal opportunity for the district’s voters to have a say in who will finish out the remaining two years of Murphy’s term. Murphy, Rauner and GOP just have to let it happen.

EDITORIAL

Here’s the catch. Murphy has said his resignation will be effective after Sept. 10, which is the deadline for allowing the seat to be filled by election on Nov. 8. After Sept. 10, the Republican Party gets to appoint a replacement to fill out the remaining two years of Murphy’s term. And the next time voters will have a say is 2018.

Rauner and the GOP, if they honestly believe the will of the voters matters more than partisan advantage, should insist that Murphy submit a letter of resignation to the Illinois State Board of Elections not on Sept. 15, as he now intends, but before Sept. 10.

And, please, don’t tell us the Democrats would play the same game, denying voters a say to protect a seat. Of course they would. In a heartbeat. But Rauner has insisted he’s better than that crowd.

One reason Rauner has refused to agree on a desperately needed state budget is his insistence on first giving voters more voice in government. That’s why he says he backs redistricting reform, which we support. It would weaken the ability of one party — in this case House Speaker Mike Madigan’s Democrats — to draw electoral maps to stack the odds for favored candidates.

If Rauner, who effectively runs the state GOP, is so very concerned about the voice of the voter, why would he cotton to any scheme that denies the voters of the 27th District a chance to have their say on Nov. 8 about who should represent them?

It’s not as if Murphy has delayed his resignation to finish up important legislative work. He’s basically already out of the game. The Legislature is out of session, and the veto session won’t start until Nov. 15.

Your move, Gov. Will you let the voters have their say?