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Quinn’s veto examined, explained

Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010

* The Sun-Times has a good article today on Gov. Pat Quinn’s amendatory veto

llinois voters would no longer have to declare their party in a primary election under a surprise amendatory veto Gov. Quinn issued Tuesday.

Under new rules pushed by Quinn, voters would be handed the ballots of Republicans, Democrats and whatever other parties have primary contests. Voters then would privately choose which ballot to fill out.

No one but the voter would know which party’s primary they voted in. Voters would not be able to vote in more than one party’s primary… Quinn said the bill will end the era of party bosses being able to check whether voters, and especially government employees, voted in the “right” party’s primary.

Quinn, who grew up in DuPage County, said “that county, when I was growing up, was quite Republican.” He added he remembered “some people being afraid to vote in the Democratic Primary.”

* Patrick Collins again showed his ignorance

However, in addition to simply allowing voters to choose between ballots privately, Collins advocated for taking the measure a step further to allow selection of candidates running in more than one party primary.

“If there’s a good candidate for high office from one party, and from another, I shouldn’t have to choose,” he said.

That specific idea was declared unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court in California Democratic Party vs. Jones.

By the way, the US Supreme Court also addressed - and dismissed - the “right to voter privacy” angle in that case

The specific privacy interest at issue is not the confidentiality of medical records or personal finances, but confidentiality of one’s party affiliation. Even if (as seems unlikely) a scheme for administering a closed primary could not be devised in which the voter’s declaration of party affiliation would not be public information, we do not think that the State’s interest in assuring the privacy of this piece of information in all cases can conceivably be considered a “compelling” one. If such information were generally so sacrosanct, federal statutes would not require a declaration of party affiliation as a condition of appointment to certain offices.

* House GOP Leader Tom Cross just sent out a press release on the subject…

“Primary elections historically draw low voter turn-out partly because some are hesitant to publically declare their party. Some voters actually fear for their jobs and others just view it as an invasion of their privacy.

“Governor Quinn’s Illinois Reform Commission last year recommended that primaries should be open to combat patronage and prevent intimidation of public employees by party leaders.

“I agree that an open primary system is the best way to protect the voters’ right to keep their vote private. Speaker Madigan’s staff says they have this issue under review. In my opinion, a voters’ right to privacy is fundamental and must be protected. But this is only one piece of the election reform puzzle, House Republicans have also supported recall, and special elections for U.S. Senate seat vacancies, and imposing campaign finance caps on legislative leaders and party chairman – it is time to make a clean break from the past.”

The state GOP chairman also likes the idea

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady said he thinks an open primary might help Republicans. He thinks taking away patronage might allow some voters to vote their consciences and not vote to keep their jobs.

But Rep. Tryon didn’t get the memo

State Rep. Mike Tryon, R-Crystal Lake, said the governor’s plan would do more to influence elections in Illinois than anything legislators have done in years.

“(An open primary) will triple the cost of an election,” Tryon said. “Because now, instead of worrying about getting your own voters out in a primary, you’re now going to have to mail and campaign to the other party. And the other party may not have pure intentions.”

Tryon, who is also the head of the McHenry County Republican Party, said political operatives could use an open primary to thin out the competition.

“You’re going to have Democrats and Republicans, and Libertarians and Green Party (voters) crossing into each others’ primary, saying I’m going to vote against this guy or I’m going to vote for this guy so this guy doesn’t get the nomination - so our guy has a better chance,” he said.

* Video of ABC7’s coverage

* More campaign stories…

* Quinn criticizes character of independent foe: Quinn says Scott Lee Cohen’s character “leaves a lot to be desired.”

* Hurdle removed for Cohen’s bid for governor

* Claypool proving he’s a contender: Claypool has, in just three months, raised $750,000 in campaign contributions.

* Mom vs. Machine

* Local black conservative candidates challenge misguided Tea Party image

* NAACP strikes back at tea party

* Just politics, not racism

* Ad attacks Brady on women’s issues

* New radio ad: Brady slams Quinn’s staff raises

* McHenry Co. judge candidate shows birth certificate; challenge dropped

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 12:42 pm:

    What gives anyone other than a Democrat the right to choose the Democrat candidate for office? Same is true for any party candidate. If a party wants to be on the primary ballot, there are methods for them to do so, and then their candidates can primary. I a person is afraid to declare their party affiliation, don’t vote. Voting is something people choose to do to participate in the political system, it is not forced. The primaries are the method to select a party’s candidate, the general election is the method to choose our leaders. Big difference. The primary is not intended to be a warm-up general election.

  2. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 12:44 pm:

    Cincinnatus - Thats not changing, genius. People still should have the right to keep that declaration secret.

  3. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 12:48 pm:

    - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 12:44 pm:

    “Cincinnatus - Thats not changing, genius. People still should have the right to keep that declaration secret.”


  4. - Anonimo - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 12:57 pm:

    Wait, so how are Political parties supposed to know whose door to knock on? I’m assuming that there will still be a state record for which primary you voted in, you just won’t have to announce it in the polling station?

  5. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 1:04 pm:

    Cincinnatus - Why? Well, many people, myself included, don’t like the idea of having a public record of how they vote. As a commenter suggested yesterday, some feel like having a record of which party they voted for leads to their elected officials ignoring their requests if they’re from the opposing party. This would also make it hard for anyone to intimidate a person into voting for a certain party since they wouldn’t be able to find out anyway. Aside from that I also just believe that political affiliation is one of the many things that you should be able to keep to yourself if you choose.

  6. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 1:15 pm:


    There are several methods to select candidates for office, from the caucus method like Iowa, to state conventions, to closed primaries, to open primaries. Philosophically, I believe that if someone is allowed to vote for a party in a primary, he needs to be of that party. If someone, like yourself, chooses to remain anonymous (or fka anonymous), you are not being forced to declare your affiliation. That’s okay. But if I as a Republican would like to have only those in my party select my candidate, why should I endorse any method that allows outsiders do it instead. Think of the shenanigans we saw in the past elections where Republicans and independents would vote for Hillary to mess up Obama’s chances. Despicable, in my opinions. Only Democrats should have chosen their presidential candidate.

    The choice is there for any voter, either declare your party or wait for the general election. I see no “right” for people to choose a party’s candidate. The primary is just a convenient means, one of several, that allows party members to select their candidates.

  7. - Anon - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 1:27 pm:

    Tom Cross and Pat Brady do not agree with Bill Brady on this issue?

    Rich, has he given a statement yet? I have heard he voted against the bill that this mimics. If true, than Quinn really did a good job on this one.

  8. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 1:30 pm:

    - But if I as a Republican would like to have only those in my party select my candidate, why should I endorse any method that allows outsiders do it instead. -

    Outsiders can already do this Cinci. I voted in the Democratic primary this year, and if I want to, I can vote in the Republican primary next time. That isn’t changing.

  9. - Liandro - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 1:42 pm:

    The “racist” attack against the tea party has always been a bunch of nonsense. The NAACP pushes that attack so hard to scare off the minority support the tea party does get. Why don’t they engage in actual discussion of deficit spending, or the national debt and its resultant interest payments, or size of federal government vs. individual empowerment? Why not confront the issues that arise from politicians spending other peoples money, or from being in office for decades?

    Because it is easier to act morally outraged while tarring your opponents, that’s why. The NAACP has never had currency with me due to exactly this zeal for causing or exacerbating racial battles.

  10. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 1:57 pm:

    - Why don’t they engage in actual discussion of deficit spending, or the national debt and its resultant interest payments, or size of federal government vs. individual empowerment? -

    Why did the tea party fail to materialize for these issues during Bush’s presidency?

  11. - Cincinnatus - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 2:35 pm:

    - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 1:30 pm:

    - But if I as a Republican would like to have only those in my party select my candidate, why should I endorse any method that allows outsiders do it instead. -

    Outsiders can already do this Cinci. I voted in the Democratic primary this year, and if I want to, I can vote in the Republican primary next time. That isn’t changing.

    Did you not have to declare to do so?

    I have a series of objections to “open-type” primaries, only one of which I have listed here. Another:

    Assume for a moment, STL, you are running against another primary candidate for mayor of your town. Also assume for a moment you don’t have Bill Gate’s bank account (or even his daily interest accrual). How do you target the voters you need to get the primary nod?

    With your limited resources, you want to target that subset of voters likely to put you on the general election ballot. If Republican, you make appeals to your hard R and soft R voters, as determined by their previous voting records. You might as well not waste a dime on the hard D voters, they will be supporting your opponent in the general.

    If you have enough money, you may also target the Independents, but for a primary, you probably don’t have the bucks.

    What precincts do you walk? Since you don’t have an infinite amount of time, you and your supporters concentrate on those areas where you have the highest density of possible supporters.

    Use this methodology to determine mailers, GOTV and all of the other traditional methods of campaigning.

    With luck, and a good message, you will beat your primary opponent and move on to the general election where you rinse and repeat your efforts.

    Without traditional voter identifications, as would be eliminated under the Quinn proposal, you have to reach deeper into your pocket, buddy up to a rich and influential person, or spend even more of your time fundraising than there are hours in the day.

    Now let’s say your elected in the general. You need to repeat this effort over and over again.

    You are now in the position where the time you should spend governing is taken up with a constant effort of fundraising.

    I think the influence of money in politics is toxic. I’d rather have instant disclosure of campaign donations of any size (no limits) than having our politicians spend so much of their time trolling for dollars.

    I believe wholeheartedly in open government, but I think the “open-type” primary exacerbates the race for the bucks, and is yet another reason I am against it.

    I have many other reasons, but I’m not sure Rich has the pixels.

  12. - Small Town Liberal - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 2:48 pm:

    - Did you not have to declare to do so? -

    Sure I did, but you seemed to be saying that declaring keeps outsiders out. I was pointing out that it doesn’t. I don’t buy the idea that more open primaries are going to exacerbate the campaign finance situation, those problems go much deeper than knowing which voters are registered to which party. Maybe without traditional voter identification politicians will be forced to be good representatives to all of their constituents instead of spending more money to target specific voters. Maybe not, but I don’t think theres any more evidence suggesting the opposite result.

  13. - PFK - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 2:52 pm:

    STL wrote: Outsiders can already do this Cinci. I voted in the Democratic primary this year, and if I want to, I can vote in the Republican primary next time. That isn’t changing.


    Actually, you can very likely vote in the Republican primary, but your local Republican pollwatcher could in theory challenge your ability to vote in the Republican primary. That’s why our current primary system doesn’t violate a political party’s Freedom of Association — and Quinn’s rewrite does away with that protection. Quinn is now saying that these three organizations (GOP, Dem, Green) have no right to know who their members are and who is making their decisions. Also Quinn fails to address non-partisan ballots. It says only established party ballots will be given, but what does a person do if they want to vote non-partisan (and many do)?

  14. - fedup dem - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 2:59 pm:

    The governor knows his amendatory veto will be shot down by the legislature, and probably by a huge margin. However, I suspect this will help bolster his image as a reformer for the upcoming election (which is all he needs to worry about).

  15. - justsickofit - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 3:02 pm:

    @cincinnatus You are right — this is the BIG downside to an open primary, and it also plays into the hands of the party leaders doing the choosing, since they can afford to finance candidates. I have never liked the concept for those reasons. It will also be more costly at a local level, since we will be printing a ballot for every party to be taken into the booth, with the non-voted ones, discarded. I know it is a small added cost, but thinking about every dime is important these days. Like so many goo-goo proposals (and I actually consider myself a goo-goo)the ramifications aren’t examined. What is to be gained vs what is to be lost? Show me that more people going to the polls results in a superior candidate, rather than the richest, being chosen, and I might change my mind. Cohen keeps popping into my head, and the downside of Quinn’s move to reduce the number of legislators.

  16. - Reformer - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 3:23 pm:

    Sen. Brady voted NO on SB 1666 on April 1, 2010. It’s the open primaries bill introduced by Sen. Bomke.
    Critics may not realize that voters would still have to choose one party in the primary; it’s just there would be no public record of which party you opt for.

  17. - Reformer - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 3:24 pm:

    There would be no extra cost using the Diebold voting monitors. A voter would just touch the screen to select which party ballot she wants.

  18. - justsickofit - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 3:47 pm:

    thanks reformer for the info — we don’t have those animals downstate, a least not where I am, and I never want to see them, here, either.

  19. - Nearly Normal - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 3:56 pm:

    In McLean County, the majority of voters use a paper ballot that is marked with pen and then scored by a “reader” so this won’t be a problem in that area.

    For our voting machines, the voter tells the election judge what party and then the judge prepares a plastic card with a magnetic stripe for the party requested.

    I see problems with the voting machines unless the judge has sets of prepared magnetic cards to give to each voter so they select the party themselves.

    There will be more training sessions ahead prior to the first primary after this becomes law.

  20. - Liandro - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 3:57 pm:

    @small town liberal:

    A good question for some, and getting burned by Bush is part of why the tea party refuses to tie itself to the Republicans, despite the best efforts of both R’s and D’s to do so.

    Not a good question vs. me, though, as I was blazing on Bush after I got back from my first Iraq tour (2005). I never voted for him, but after that I was outright (and vocally) against him. He was in no way a fiscal conservative, and I was glad to see him go.

  21. - Will County Woman - Wednesday, Jul 14, 10 @ 8:24 pm:

    At the end of the day, the onus is on Brady to come up with good ideas so that he won’t be attacked. As a case in point one of his recent ideas to 401k state employees was a bad idea and rightly criticized.

    I don’t know why businesspeople/conservatives insist upon thinking that government should be run like business. the two couldn’t be more fundamentally different than they already are. government is not a business. that’s just basic!

    and, let’s face it…the IL GOP has shot its own self in the foot because it squandered all 6 years that blago was in office by not offering better alternatives. as a case in point, putting judy baar topinka up against blago was stuipd! i’m not saying that a hard right type was the answer. it wasn’t the answer then, and it’s not the answer now. they need someone who understands and engages in smart politics, knows how to keep the base and play to the middle (admittedly a difficult fine line to walk, but it has and can be done), someone who offers fresh and viable ideas, and someone who has universal appeal.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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