Daley to pay students $100 for Election Day help
Opponent says stipend equal to 'buying' support
February 22, 2007
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter Mayor Daley's campaign is paying college students $100 apiece to get out the vote for the mayor on Election Day -- and replace an army of precinct workers diminished by the City Hall hiring scandal.
Mayoral challenger Bill Walls accused the mayor of "buying" student support. He likened the $100 stipends to employment promises made to members of the Hispanic Democratic Organization and other pro-Daley armies at the center of the scandal. The mayor's former patronage chief and three others were convicted last summer of rigging city hiring.
"He gave HDO promises of jobs and promotions. He's giving these young people instant gratification in the form of money. Quid pro quo: Work for me, and we'll give you money. It's the same thing," Walls said.
Buying lunch is normal: foeMayoral challenger Dorothy Brown said it's not unusual for politicians to buy lunch for precinct workers on Election Day. But she argued that $100 is "an inordinate amount of money" to offer people to staff phone banks, go door-to-door and drive people to the polls.
"They're not breaking the law. But if you have to resort to paying people $100 a day -- if you're the incumbent mayor and you can't get people to volunteer for your campaign -- that tells me you don't have a lot of support in the community."
Terry Peterson, the mayor's campaign manager, said Daley has "a ton" of volunteers -- including union members, ministers, block club presidents and college students. Daley is also getting help from Democratic ward organizations he worked around for many years.
But Peterson argued that there's nothing wrong with offering $100 apiece to college students willing to spend the day getting out the vote.
"A lot of them are going to volunteer because they want to volunteer," he said. "But what's wrong with paying a college student who might want to make a little extra money for school or to help them out with their books?"