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*** UPDATED x2 *** This just in… Quinn calls special election

Thursday, Jul 29, 2010

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


33 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 6:26 pm:

    –…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.–

    Is it even possible to certify a statewide election overnight so a winner could be sworn in Nov. 3? Perhaps the appellate court should ponder that for six months or so and get back to us.


  2. - DuPage Dave - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 6:49 pm:

    To quote Charles Dickens: “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass — a idiot.”

    The special election is a joke. It only serves to confuse the voting public and confirm the suspicion that those in high office are not to be taken seriously.


  3. - shore - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 6:50 pm:

    I thought I was pressing my luck, but it seemed to fit the story. Sorry about that.


  4. - the Other Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 6:59 pm:

    In general, I support merit selection of judges, and the federal bench proves that merit selection works — except in the area of elections. Almost very time the federal courts get involved in election administration, they get it wrong.


  5. - Obamarama - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 7:06 pm:

    LOL, you get deleted, Shore?

    This is going to be a joke in the transition from Burris/temp/Alexi or Kirk. Think about all of the logistics here (just to name a few):

    Office furniture
    Senior staffers and their vetting
    Junior staffers
    Orientation for new hires
    Training on how to open their freaking email and VM’s (no, I don’t mean VanillaMan’s)
    All of the district office locations
    Committee appointments?!
    Caucus memberships and responsibilities

    How much mail can you get done with two weeks of the Franking privilege? Is it pro-rated?

    What will be the overhead budget for the transitional term?

    Does Roland have to physically vacate by 12:01AM on November 3rd?

    What a nightmare.


  6. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 7:13 pm:

    I agree Obamarama, what a mess this could be, especially if the winner of the special is not also the winner of the general.

    One other thing of note: this could be a very intriguing lame duck session in Congress. Whoever serves the intermediary term could very well be in the thick of some hyper-partisan votes on huge issues, especially if one or both houses change majorities.

    Even though this might be only a 6-8 week gig, it is not inconsequential.


  7. - shore - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 7:18 pm:

    few points.

    1. The british turn over their ENTIRE government in one night. That’s right. their entire government. their prime minister leaves, the next guy comes in an hour later and they move on. Roland was lame duck anyway, what I see happening is what happens when a member dies-the outgoing staff stays on in a functional capacity to handle the non political stuff and works for the senate administrative office until Senator Mark Steven Kirk is sworn in.

    2. This is not unusual. Lots of senators resign early to give their predecessor a jump on seniority.

    3. This country has 13 aircraft carriers, I think we can handle a senate seat transition.

    4. Yes I did. I posted a clip of dumb and dumber which seemed fitting given the stupidity in this senate episode which has already included 1 governor on trial, SNL, and every bizarre story today short of snooki.


  8. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 7:21 pm:

    Sooooo…..Rod should have called an election? Boy, I bet he’s kicking himself now!


  9. - anony - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 7:26 pm:

    Does this also let them raise an additional $2400 for the special election?


  10. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 7:33 pm:

    Shore, call the ISBE and ask them how long it takes to certify an election so that it would withstand a challenge.

    There’s a process dictated by law, you see. I don’t think aircraft carriers are involved.


  11. - shore - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 7:37 pm:

    good call. Senator Kirk starts day after thanksgiving rather than day after the election. gives him a break and chance to reload.


  12. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 8:03 pm:

    I wonder if the ruling in the Ronan case was ever challenged? Probably not.

    As long as we’re in this ridiculous process, who the heck is a federal judge to decide who the candidates will be in a special election?


  13. - Wumpus - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 8:04 pm:

    Rich, will you accept the role of my Media Director for Wumpus for Senate?


  14. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 8:12 pm:

    No. I’m committed to Bill.


  15. - soccermom - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 8:16 pm:

    Can we please do all of this on an aircraft carrier? Cooollll…


  16. - Edison Parker - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 8:18 pm:

    So if Kirk wins the special election, he’ll have to give up his House seat early, right? What happens to that vacancy for six weeks?


  17. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 8:28 pm:

    Special election? lol


  18. - krome - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 8:30 pm:

    The discussions in court included talk of certifying the election as of November 24 (not November 3)


  19. - loyalwhig - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:16 pm:

    Illinois politics. The gift that keeps on giving! Somewhere Rod is laughing.


  20. - CosDem - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:33 pm:

    Roland Burris and his attorney are saying they want their day in court to challenge this ruling. http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/senate-special-election-99576154.html

    Did anyone really think Roland would have gone away quietly?


  21. - Team America - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:38 pm:

    Someone please wake me up from this.


  22. - obamalac - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 9:50 pm:

    Burris AND Kirk in the same room would be a surreal scene for sure, if even for one minute!


  23. - Louis G. Atsaves - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:30 pm:

    Thanks Democrats! For opposing the special election instead of allowing it to happen when it should have happened. Now we have . . . . . ?


  24. - KeepSmiling - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:45 pm:

    Ahhhhhh. Illinois. Everyone, just keep smiling.


  25. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:50 pm:

    It’s times like these that I wish I could draw well:

    Senator Congressman Commander Kirk standing in the middle of a room–filled with unopened boxes of Christmas ornaments–with a very bewildered look on his face.


  26. - Cheswick - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 10:55 pm:

    How could Roland have gotten his petitions in by June 21st? He couldn’t have. Can he register as a write-in? What about write-ins for the 6 week term?


  27. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jul 29, 10 @ 11:08 pm:

    ala Norman Rockwell, maybe, with Burris and Quinn in the background…crying…laughing…both, maybe? And a cute little puppy with a big bow around it’s neck and a leash in it’s mouth, looking up at Kirk.


  28. - shore - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 1:10 am:

    when kirk is elected, team america will be appointed to fill his slot and ellen of the tenth will have conniptions.


  29. - Aldyth - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 8:51 am:

    Do we have to go out of our way to be ridiculous or does it just come naturally?


  30. - letmerun - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 9:11 am:

    The british turn over their ENTIRE government in one night? Please, WE ARE NOT the british and proud of it! Ridiculous? Only when it comes to spending money our state DOES NOT HAVE.


  31. - Name/Nickname/Anon - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 10:13 am:

    Roland will go away quietly, if you promise that one of those aircraft carriers will bear his name.


  32. - Dan Bureaucrat - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 10:59 am:

    This may be an unpopular position, but, in spite of how he got the position, Burris has been doing a pretty good job. I honestly might prefer him to Alexi or Kirk. I NEVER thought I would say that, but there I said it.


  33. - Curious - Friday, Jul 30, 10 @ 12:39 pm:

    Well, the one benefit to all of this for Illinois is that, if the same person wins the special election as the main election, that person will have more seniority than the rest of the incoming class of freshman senators. Sounds like a small thing, but the Senate is very seniority-based and there could well be a big crop of new senators come January.


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