Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization

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The Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization (IVI-IPO) is an independent, not-for-profit, Illinois political organization. Often referred to by its acronym, IVI-IPO, has roots dating to 1944, when the Independent Voters of Illinois was founded. In 1979 the IVI merged with the Independent Precinct Organization founded by Dick Simpson.[1] The organization is nonpartisan. It states that it is "dedicated to good government activism and an idealistic vision of open, honest government in Illinois through pragmatic means that confront cynicism and corruption with equal force." The organization is organized into geographical "chapters" and, while technically a statewide organization, is concentrated in the Chicago area.

IVI-IPO works on voter registration drives, provides voter information, and supports endorsed candidates. It endorses through a detailed questionnaire to candidates for office, followed by endorsement session vote of the "chapter," followed in some cases, such as larger offices, by a vote of the board of directors. The organization then typically prints and widely distributes, through newsprint flyers and often print media advertisement, a list of its endorsements, with explanations for voters. As the name indicates, the organization at one time attempted to build a precinct organization that was independent of the political parties. By and large, the organization no longer conducts precinct work. The organization also acts as a lobbyist, primarily in the Illinois state legislature, on behalf of governmental reform issues. Its adopted positions are generally liberal, and in recent years the organization, more often than not, endorses Democrats. It also endorses in primary races.

The IVI-IPO supported Harold Washington in the Illinois House of Representatives and as Mayor of Chicago during the 1980s "Council Wars." On January 13, 1996 the IVI-IPO endorsed community organizer Barack Obama early in his first attempt at elected office, his first run for the Illinois Senate.[2] In the 2008 Democratic presidential primary contest, whether Barack Obama personally reviewed his answers to an IVI-IPO questionnaire filled out during his 2004 campaign for the U.S. Senate became a campaign controversy.[3]

In 2009, the IVI-IPO filed suit claiming the City of Chicago’s 2008 concession agreement for the operation of its parking meters to a private company violated state law.[4]

The current State Chairman of IVI-IPO is Alonso Edgar Zaragoza, who succeeded two-term State Chair Bob Bartell, who also served four terms in the 1990s.[5]


  1. ^ "Dick Simpson biography". Chicago Sun-Times. January 1, 2001. Archived from the original on September 28, 2009. 
  2. ^ Oclander, Jorge (1995-04-02). "Loss of clout dims IVI-IPO's fate". Chicago Sun-Times. p. 22. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
    . (1995-11-08). "IVI-IPO endorses Palmer for 2nd District seat". Hyde Park Herald. p. 3. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
    Knapp, Kevin (1996-01-17). "Primary ballot gets face-lift from board". Hyde Park Herald. p. 1. Retrieved 2009-01-23. 
    Knapp, Kevin (1996-01-31). "Local independent voters still divided". Hyde Park Herald. p. 1. Retrieved 2011-11-28. Palmer's decision to seek reelection split the small army of Hyde Park's independent voters into two camps. While a few IVI/IPO stalwarts, including Ald. Barbara Holt (5th) chose to back Palmer's rushed reelection campaign, many chose instead to support candidate Barack Obama—just as Palmer had urged them to do last September when Obama first announced he was seeking Palmer's job. 
    Mendelson, Saul; Friedberg-Dobry, Louise (1996-02-07). "Letters to the editor: Independents defend their pre-election work". Hyde Park Herald. p. 4. Retrieved 2011-11-28. 
  3. ^ Vogel, Kenneth P. "Obama had greater role on liberal survey" The Politico, Mar. 31, 2008, accessed 6/20/2010
  4. ^ "Independent Voters of Illinois Independent Precinct v. State of Illinois" (PDF). Circuit Court of Cook County, IL. Retrieved 2011-01-24. 
  5. ^ Smith, Jeff (2008-07-22). "Bob Bartell New IVI-IPO Chief". Prairie State Blue. Retrieved 2009-04-10. 

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