Tom Cross tied to national effort to suppress civil rights, according to national watchdogs
CHAMPAIGN, IL – Downstate Democrat Mike Frerichs, candidate for State Treasurer, is calling on his Republican opponent Tom Cross to drop his party’s effort to knock Libertarian candidates off of the November ballot. The Libertarian Party has called for a criminal investigation into allegations of voter intimidation by armed security guards working on behalf of Cross and gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner. A Sangamon County judge rejected efforts by the Illinois Republican Party to force Libertarians off the ballot on Thursday, but the GOP has refused to say whether they will continue their legal challenge.
“I find Tom Cross and the Republican Party’s tactics outrageous,” says Frerichs, who at age 26 ran against a candidate backed by House Speaker Michael J. Madigan. “I know politics can be pretty rocky, but when Republicans sent men with guns to people’s homes and intimidated them, they crossed way over the line.”
The Frerichs campaign is also calling on Tom Cross and the GOP to drop plans to restrict voter access on college campuses and in minority communities on Election Day. Frerichs notes that the Republican Party has a long history of blocking student voter participation at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), which Frerichs represents. On campus, Republicans have required college students to provide multiple forms of identification in order to cast ballots, generating long lines at the polls and discouraging voting.
Tom Cross has a history of opposing voter participation in Illinois. Cross voted against legislation in 2013 sponsored by Frerichs (House Bill 105) that encourages student voter participation. Republicans staunchly opposed the bill when it was amended to allow same-day voter registration to ensure that Illinoisans aren’t denied their vote simply because they had moved recently because it benefits students and poorer families. Cross was also one of only 22 conservative House lawmakers to oppose House Bill 226, a measure that allowed 17 year-olds to vote in the primary elections provided they turn 18 before the November general election.
Tom Cross is also affiliated with national efforts to block voter participation, according to the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD), a nonpartisan watchdog group. The CMD website, Sourcewatch.com, says Cross is a leader within the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a rightwing corporate think tank. According to CMD, ALEC has led efforts to disenfranchise “students, African Americans, low-income, and older citizens” by passing voter identification laws across the country.
CMD also notes that Cross is a leading member of ALEC’s committee on civil rights. In 2011, Cross participated in an ALEC conference aimed at restricting the rights of women, racial minorities, gay Americans and older workers in all 50 states to sue for wrongful termination, workplace discrimination and sexual harassment.
“When the cameras are on and everyone is paying attention, Tom Cross says nice things and even occasionally votes the right way,” says Zach Koutsky, campaign manager. “When Tom Cross is exposed in the back room, its a different story. The public should visit Sourcewatch.com to find out what Tom Cross and ALEC really stand for.”