McCarthy-era remnant remains in state elections

When you vote for candidates this November, it’s likely they’ve signed an oath saying they’re not communists. Every candidacy packet in the state still contains a McCarthy-era loyalty oath.

Initially sponsored by Southern Illinois Medal of Honor recipient and former State Rep. Clyde Choate, signers of the loyalty oath swear not to be “affiliated directly or indirectly with any communist organization.”

The oath was declared unconstitutional in 1972, but that only made it optional. It would take lawmakers in Springfield to vote it out of existence.

University of Illinois Springfield political science professor Kent Redfield said the reason it’s not just voted away is just as political as the McCarthy-era witch hunts.

“You’re getting political heat when there’s really no particular upside to taking a stand on this,” Redfield said.

Florida and Pennsylvania also have optional loyalty oaths, but neither mentions communism.

A Freedom of Information Act request to the state elections board shows that all but six state senators and 10 state representatives have a signed loyalty oath on file.

The Loyalty Oath can be found here.

–Illinois News Network

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