* 6:09 pm - Gov. Pat Quinn has called a special US Senate election before a federal judge could issue a final ruling on the matter. From the AP…
Illinoisans will vote twice to fill President Barack Obama’s old Senate seat in November.
Gov. Pat Quinn filed paperwork Thursday for a special election before lawyers went to court to try to finalize the details of what that ballot will look like.
Voters will pick a senator to serve a six-year term in the regular election and a senator to serve the final weeks of Obama’s term in a special election.
The appellate court suggested that Quinn could call the special election on his own.
But how Quinn could simply call this election without a federal judge’s order is unknown to me at the moment. It looks like a political move to get out in front of the issue. …Adding… The trial judge will issue an order soon, so I’m told that since the governor would have to order a special election anyway, he figured he might as well get it out of the way. This is still probably a political decision to not wait, but he is following the order of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals.
The trial judge held a hearing today to discuss the matter and the outline of the pending order became pretty clear…
Voters will see two U.S. Senate contests on the fall ballot: one to elect a senator to serve from Nov. 3 to Jan. 3 and one to elect a senator to serve for six years starting Jan.3.
Still to be decided by a federal judge is who qualifies as candidates for what will be a two-month Senate gig. But U.S. District Judge John Grady said he’s inclined to list the same candidates that won the state’s Feb. 2 primaries to also appear as the special election candidates. Any independent candidates who qualified for the six-year term would automatically appear on the ballot for the two-month Senate job.
You’ll know more when I do.
*** UPDATE 1 - 7:05 pm *** To see the governor’s formal writ, click here. In the writ, he declares that the special election will be held…
…in conformity with any applicable federal court orders and, to the extent feasible, with the Illinois Election Code and other Statutes in such case made and provided.
So, there’s the answer to my original question.
*** UPDATE 2 - 7:12 pm *** From the Chicago Elections Board…
In the U.S. Senate Special Election case today, Judge John H. Grady indicated the following items will be in the final order … but did not issue the final order:
– The exact same list of candidates running for the full six-year term for U.S. Senator in the Nov. 2 General Election also will be running directly below that on the ballot in a Special Election for the last six weeks of the current U.S. Senate term for the seat currently held by Roland Burris.
– The candidate lists for the six-year and six-week terms will be identical: those who won the established party primary elections on Feb. 2, plus any new-party or independent candidates whose petitions qualify them to be on the ballot. (The deadline for filing those petitions was June 21.)
– The political parties will NOT select the candidates for the Special Election.
– The accelerated schedule for proclaiming results in the Special Election is likely to be:
+ Nov. 19 for election officials to proclaim local results, and
+ Nov. 24 for the State Board of Elections to proclaim statewide results.
The Court indicated a desire to preserve the ability absentee voters’ ballots, particularly those from military and overseas voters, to be able to arrive and be counted up to 14 days after the election.
The order is a work in progress. Judge Grady indicated that once the parties sign off on the draft order, he would enter the order without conducting another hearing.
The net effect of this will be that voters will need to make a selection in each contest to have a say in both the six-year term and the six-week term. There can be “voter fall-off” in situations like this, where voters make a choice in the first contest but not the second. Also, the margins of victory are likely to be different between contests.
There will need to be efforts by both the campaigns and election authorities to educate voters on this special situation.
The six-year term and the unexpired term for U.S. Senator will be the first two offices on the ballots.
This will be similar to a federal court decision that created a Nov. 3, 1970 Special Election in the 6th Congressional District to fill the vacancy created by the death of U.S. Rep. Daniel Ronan – all on the same ballot that voters used to pick the Congressman for the next full two-year term.
In that case, the Court ruled that the candidates who won their primaries would be listed first for the vacancy and then for the full two-year term.
In the resulting voting, the voter fall-off rates and differences in vote totals were as follows: Democrat George W. Collins won both contests over Republican Alex J. Zabrosky, but the margins (68,949-to-54,746 and 68,182-to-53,240) meant a voter fall-off rate of 1.8% and an increase in the victory margin of 0.8% for Collins.