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Thursday, Nov 18, 2010

* I have a general rule of trying to avoid believing what John Kass says without double- and even triple-checking his alleged facts. I broke that rule today. My bad. Sorry.

This is from Kass’ column yesterday

According to Odelson’s documents, election officials twice sent notices to Emanuel’s house on Hermitage Avenue.

Both times, the notices were returned to sender. Each was stamped with Emanuel’s forwarding address in Washington. Election officials do not allow such notices to be forwarded to a new address. The election board purged Emanuel from the voting lists for the first time in October 2009, ruling him an “inactive” voter.

But Emanuel’s voter status switched to “active” just before the Feb. 2 primary. He voted using an absentee ballot listing the Hermitage address even though the Halpin family lived there and they also voted from that address. Voters purged from the rolls usually present a driver’s license, a lease, a copy of a mortgage or other such documentation to be reinstated.

“By some magical means, which I think will come out after objections are filed, Emanuel was reinstated,” Odelson told me.

* OK, first of all, Emanuel was never “purged” from the voting rolls. Chicago doesn’t use that term, according to city board of elections spokesman Jim Allen. They have two classifications: “Inactive” and “Canceled.”

“Canceled” means you’ve registered to vote in some other county, state or address or are in prison for a felony. “Inactive” means there was a problem with the card the board mails out.

* Secondly, Burt Odelson’s comment about “By some magical means… Emanuel was reinstated,” is bogus, according to Allen and another election law attorney I’ve consulted.

Here’s why: When you request an absentee ballot, the city mails that back to you with an affidavit that you must sign saying you reside at such-and-such address and are lawfully entitled to vote. And that’s it. Your vote counts even if you’re on the inactive list. There was no need for magic, or conspiracies, or inside help. He just needed an absentee ballot, which Rahm Emanuel indeed requested before the February primary earlier this year.

* Back to Kass’ column

In May, Emanuel was again rendered inactive. Just last month, he reregistered, using a new address on Milwaukee Avenue in order to vote.

That’s legit as well. Emanuel early voted on October 5th using his new address. No big deal, no conspiracy, no nothing.

* Today’s Kass column

Another mayoral candidate, former School Board President Gery Chico, said Emanuel owes it to the voters to explain it all in person.

“Especially the mysterious reactivation of his voter status before the February primary,” Chico said.

“The main question is: How did he get that absentee ballot after he’d been purged? How was he reinstated?” Chico asked.

There was no “mysterious reactivation of his voter status” because Emanuel wasn’t “purged,” and he simply requested an absentee ballot, signed the affidavit and voted like anyone can in a similar situation.

No conspiracy here. Move along.

* Now, there are other issues involved. But the inactive status conspiracy is really not worth discussing any longer.

Again, sorry.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Jo - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 3:36 pm:

    I blame it on the Combine.

  2. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 3:43 pm:

    The real mystery here is how Kass keeps getting a paycheck to be political columnist. When the truth conflicts with the legend, go with the legend. Accuracy is hard work. Kass simply doesn’t work very hard.

  3. - Jo - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 3:45 pm:

    I still want to high-five the guy who convinced Kass that Jimmy DeLeo was the “Real Governor of Illinois.”

  4. - Team America - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 3:45 pm:

    Darn. I love a good conspiracy.

  5. - Deep South - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 3:47 pm:

    The right wing noise machine strikes again.

  6. - unspun - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 3:50 pm:

    Jimmy “how YOU doin’” DeLeo scores on John “non-fact checkin’” Kass (R)-TribTowerland

  7. - Living in Oklahoma - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:03 pm:

    I am happy to hear that Rahm is above reproach.

  8. - Anon - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:05 pm:

    You can also LEGALLY be employed by the Executive Branch or Congress and retain your right to vote in your home state. Just sayin

  9. - Anon 7 - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:07 pm:

    Rich - I agree that Kass went too far with the word “purged.” However, it seems like a stretch for Emanuel to sign an affidavit stating that he “resided” at the Hermitage address for the 2010 primary. But in fairness, I don’t know the history of this issue (as it relates to past presidential staff/appointees from IL) and the typical protocol. If Emanuel was still paying IL income tax, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

  10. - Fact Check - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:13 pm:

    Odd that Kass doesn’t mention that Odelson was Todd Stroger’s lawyer and served as his parliamentarian on the county dime. Suddenly the biggest hack is a good government crusader, huh Kass? Please eat a big plate of crow when Odelson’s nuisance objection gets tossed.

  11. - Pat Robertson - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:14 pm:

    No conspiracy? Does that mean that Rahmbo still hasn’t made his bones?

  12. - siriusly - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:22 pm:

    So Gery Chico and Alderman Burke are tossing vague conspiracy theories out there to discredit Emanuel and Kass totally bites. No surprise. But Miller too? yes, Rich I’m surprised.

    Fact Check: Kass only mentions those connections when it fits his tin foil theory du jour - not really on a consistent basis.

    I know a guy who moved out of the city, registered in another county and voted in both places for two consecutive elections. I find it strange that Rahm’s registration was termed “inactive” so quickly. I wonder if any of the Aldermen connected to this story know anything about that . . . .

  13. - just sayin' - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:26 pm:

    Well done Rich. Class act.

  14. - GetOverIt - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:30 pm:


    You are correct in your assertion. However, the right to vote and right to run for a municipal office should not be confused.

    I attempted to frame the legal issue into one of disfranchisement. However, disfranchisement is almost always an element in voter access cases. An individual’s right to run for Mayor of Chicago is not a disfranchisement issue, thus it is difficult to frame a constitutional question.

    I suspect the court to find quite a bit of inertia between state and municipal law. The court will have to make sense of the two in an attempt at a very un-American result, i.e. serve your country; return to your declared residence; vote in an election for mayor, but prohibited from running for mayor or alderman because you are not considered a resident.

  15. - S - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:32 pm:

    From the Chicago Board of Elections:

    “An “inactive” voter may need to show identification to prove eligibility to vote. An inactive voter may vote IF he or she meets all legal requirements, completes an affidavit and provides proof of residence at the address on the registration. Acceptable identification includes a driver’s license, social security card, utility bill, employee or student identification card, credit card, civic/union/professional association membership, public assistance card or library card — so long as one of those IDs includes that their current address matches the address on the registration. Voter registrations become “inactive” if the voter has not responded to notices that question whether the person still resides at their original address or otherwise challenge the validity of the registration. “Inactive” voters may have changed addresses, permanently or temporarily, and not updated their registrations to their new addresses. “Inactive” voters’ names are currently on file, but they may be removed after two federal election cycles if they have not shown that their registrations are still valid. A voter who moved within 30 days prior to the election and still lives in the State of Illinois must complete an affidavit and provide two pieces of acceptable identification, one of which must show their current address.”

  16. - Lakefront Liberal - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:35 pm:

    The big question now to me is what did Rahm swear to on the affidavit? If it was that the place he had rented out was where he lived then I think there is a problem — not with the election officials but with Rahm for swearing to something that wasn’t true. Some people who work in Washington keep a residence here — President Obama certainlyh does and I am sure Rahm did when he was a congressperson. But that was over 12 months ago and it is only the past 12 months that counts. He may have always intended to move back but the point is that he DID move — or so it appears to me. And even though it may not seem fair or right or whatever to not let him run for office because of this, it is not about that, it is about what is legal. In an ideal world we could all just go by what we all think seems “fair” but in the real world there are laws which may or may not agree with our sense of fairness.

  17. - S - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:40 pm:

    1.) Rich does a much better job of summarizing all that than the City Board of Elections does.

    2.) I just reviewed Burke/Neal exchange again. Burke keeps going back to the “two pieces of identification”. Maybe he’s betting that Rahm returned the affidavit but not accompanied with the “two pieces of identification” and that will somehow benefit their challenge? Odd.

  18. - wordslinger - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:43 pm:

    Kass is writing Chico and Burke’s talking points. Those are his sources. The one thing about Kass, you always know who he’s working for. He doesn’t hide his light under a bushel.

    Just in case anyone missed it, the Chicago Tribune of your earlier life is gone. John Kass is not Mike Royko by any stretch of the imagination. He’s a sad parody, almost.

    The guys who had the audacity to build an industrial printing plant in the city called Freedom Center were replaced by fat old vulgar radio dj white guys. Minor league Rush Limbaugh’s. Sad.

  19. - John Powers - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:54 pm:

    Ah, caught Kass using the term purged rather than inactive or cancelled..that is some coup!

    Perhaps what was sworn to on an affidavit should be checked.

  20. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 4:58 pm:

    JP, it’s not just that. You must have a problem with reading comprehension.

    Kass pumped up a conspiracy about how Emanuel was able to be “reinstated” on the voter rolls without presenting any ID in person. Just not true.

    Anyway, perhaps you’d better take some classes before returning here.

  21. - MrJM - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:01 pm:

    @John Powers - If, after reading what Rich posted above, you still don’t understand the significant difference between “purged” “inactive” and “cancelled” there’s probably not much anyone can say to help you, huh?

    – MrJM

  22. - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:02 pm:



    - Cheryl44 - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 10:13 am:

    Just because Kass said it doesn’t make it true.

  23. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:05 pm:


  24. - suspicious - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:10 pm:

    If Odelson/Meeks/Burke or whoever else is working behind the scenes to get Emanuel off the ballot had such a strong case, why are they trying to soak this story in ink? If I were the atty working this and thought I had a strong case to get Emanuel DQ’d, I’d keep my cards close and wait to start working the press until after the challenge was filed. The fact that this story has seen so much press makes me wonder whether Meeks/Burke and whoever else is behind this deal is working an angle as much as truly hoping to get Emanuel off the ballot. Also, I think that public opinion could be more important here than some might think: I think that the majority of Chicagoans likely think Emanuel deserves a shot no matter their opinion of him. If the public sees another candidate like Meeks as truly behind these efforts, I think it could come back to haunt them in terms of public opinion. Not to mention Emanuel’s likely talent in the revenge business.

  25. - Honest Abe - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:14 pm:

    Earlier today, we discussed the distinctions between eligibility to vote and eligibility to run for office under the Municipal Code. It is much easier to register to vote because the residential requirement is a mere thirty days. Registration usually closes exactly one month before an election. Satisfying the residency requirements for running for office takes much longer. One year in this instance to be precise.

    Rahm Emanuel probably was fully qualified to vote from his new address on Milwaukee Avenue for the recent November 2, 2010 election. That does not necessarily make him eligible to run for mayor in February of 2011.

    What is suspect is how Emanuel was permitted to vote during the February, 2010 primary election. Rich Miller referred to his completing an affidavit to reactivate his voter’s registration after the mail from the Board of Election was returned as undeliverable. Well and good, so far, provided that the affidavit submitted was truthful. If, however, Emanuel listed the address on Hermitage Avenue as his residence while he was not actually living their and the Halpin family was residing there under the terms of their lease, it is a much stickier situation. I would not fault an elections department employee or a precinct judge of elections for accepting such an affidavit at face value, but if the affiant completed a false statement under oath to obtain a ballot that is another matter that plays into what Burke, Kass and Odelson have been arguing.

    I do not think Emanuel was eligible to vote from the Hermitage Avenue address last February and in relation to his mayoral candidacy that is a critical issue. We can expect full hearings on this matter.

  26. - Him Say - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:21 pm:

    What I am care about is how some people (whomever, not one person in particular) who want the law to apply to some but not all. It’s not about “the majority of Chicagoans likely thinking Emanuel deserves a shot no matter their opinion of him”…it is about the letter and intent of the law and the issue is residency. It will be up to a court of law, not a court of popular opinion or whoever shouts the loudest in the press.

    John Kass may be stirring the pot, but there is a question of eligibility based on residency not “ability to vote”.

  27. - lincoln's beard - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:22 pm:

    I think it’s at least possible that the Emanuel residency non-story keeps coming up because the Emanuel campaign wants to continue the blanket press coverage. I don’t see any downside to Rahm in these stories crowding out actual coverage of the issues facing the city.

  28. - Cincinnatus - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:31 pm:

    When Rahm releases his tax returns (surely he will since this is a new, unwritten requirement of all Illinois candidates), instead of looking at the income, the reporters should look at his home residency address.

  29. - S - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:44 pm:

    Quick thought on Odelson’s possible argument (this is purely hypothetical on my part, but it’s an interesting exercise):

    1.) Chicago Board of Elections has an absentee affidavit available at: (this is from the General; probably same as the primary, but can’t tell)

    2.) Affidavit states: “that I have (or will have) resided at said address at least thirty days through the day of the election indicated above; that I am lawfully entitled to vote at said election.”

    3.) Rahm voted in the Primary at the Hermitage address. He swore he resided there and was “lawfully entitled to vote at said election.”

    4.) Rahm voted in the General at the new address.

    5.) Odelson may contend that if Rahm’s residency was perfectly fine and he was “lawfully entitled to vote at said election” at the Hermitage address in Feb., the same should have held true in Nov. or not at all.
    - Rahm still owned the house on Hermitage.
    - Rahm still had the same tenant on Hermitage.

    That means: a.) the address Rahm voted from in Feb. was valid and still should have been valid in Nov. OR b.) it wasn’t.

    If he was validly registered to vote through that address in Feb. then he should have been allowed to vote at that exact same address in Nov. - especially since he could have voted absentee from that address again in Nov. had he remained in D.C.

    Unless, of course, the Feb. registration wasn’t actually fine and valid - which is why he had to register through a different address in Nov.

    That said, I think the guy should have a chance and the voters should decide. Will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

  30. - Park - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:50 pm:

    I still like Kass. But he’s not a ‘breaking news’ kind of guy.

  31. - Snarky - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:50 pm:


    That’s hilarious! Rahm planned this whole residency stunt to score some free media coverage of his candidacy! Obviously, he lacked the big bucks to produce some glossy commercials and campaign ads, so he came up with this brilliant ruse! I mean like the Rahmster is so impoverished what with the patriotic paycut to serve as Obama’s Chief of Staff (weren’t there whispers that Emanuel was due to be canned after the midterms anyway? Good thing that this mayoral thing opened up), the poor man had to turn his home into a boarding house. Faking a residency crisis that would threaten your eligibility is right up there with Obama hiding his birth certificate. You cannot buy this type of publicity to hype your name recognition. In a few months the voters will forget that you looked like a clown and all that they will remember is your name like when Melissa Bean promoted the election of Joe Walsh from the Eagles when she was trashing him.

    You are too funny Beard dude!

  32. - Suspicious - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 5:58 pm:

    By the way, I once heard a story about how Burke got Finance, police escort etc and it involved a meeting with Mayor Daley & brother Bill and Burke’s promise to never run for his or that office…who knows if it’s true, but this residency challenge rings hollow to this atty and seems much more like a play for a piece of the pie.

  33. - ARGHH!!!!! - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 6:02 pm:

    It’s okay, Rich, we all make mistakes. I voted for Blagojevich, not once but twice!

  34. - Irishpirate - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 6:13 pm:

    I think we need to create a John Kass online column generator.

    Randomly throw words such as combine, Rahmnistas, chumbalone, Madiganstan, Daley, Burke, Jackson, Hopium, outfit, etc into sentences and then wait for a column to come out.

    As for the Rahmulans residency I ask only one question. WWRD What Would Rahm Do if he was in the place of one of the other candidates?

    He’d file a challenge.

    Therefore based on the pirate theory of reciprocity and karma I say kick him off the ballot.

    By the way WWRD also applies to the Ricketts family and their desire for public money. I think they have an interesting argument for public funding, but since the karma train is pulling into the station they shouldn’t get any.

    Toot, toot, chugga chugga chugga see that steam trail from the engine………choo choo.

  35. - too obvious - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 6:31 pm:

    If it’s not something about Jimmy DeLeo or there’s not an angle to make up a new silly name for someone, Kass is pretty much over his head where politics is concerned. He’s mostly exhausted his material and his only good columns now are on food.

  36. - Stop the Insanity - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 8:39 pm:

    If Rahm is the sharpest tool in the box, how did he allow this to happen? Was a few dollars in monthly rental income worth of all of the aggravation, not to mention the possible loss of his dream position as mayor?

    Of course, Rahm was also the only member of the Obama transition team who seemed to be ignorant of the fact that the Feds were tapping Rod’s telephone lines as part of the lengthy investigation into Blago’s criminality when he called to pitch Jarrett for the US Senate slot. As a bonus, Rahm even discussed Blago naming a temporary replacement to hold his Congressional seat until Pelosi retired. Illinois law does not work that way, but who ever suggested that Rahm was up on the election laws. All that he knows about politics is money talks and backstabbing opponents is fun.

  37. - Emily Booth - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 9:26 pm:

    Rahm stood on Southport Ave near Roscoe collecting names for his petition when he first ran for office. He was my rep both times. I got no problem with Rahm. He’s a Chicagoan.

  38. - Anonymous - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 9:50 pm:

    Here’s a relevant precedent, albeit from Virginia (From James Alcorn of the Virginia Board of Elections): It is striking how similar the facts surrounding Rahm Emanuel’s residency in Chicago are to the seminal, Virginia case on voter residency: Sachs v Horan. Daniel Sachs was registered to vote and owned a home in Fairfax County. Sachs had a minimum, one year employment contract outside of Fairfax so he rented a house in Washington County and leased his house in Fairfax to another person. All the while, Sachs paid property taxes to, registered his vehicle in, and had a driver’s license from Fairfax County. He was seeking employment closer to home and hoped to return to his house in Fairfax. In reviewing his residency for voter registration, the Supreme Court of Virginia held that Sachs did not “live in that locality with the intent to remain there for an unlimited time” nor did he have the requisite “place of abode” to establish residency for voter registration.

  39. - Bubs - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 10:58 pm:

    Ever seen a slow motion film of a train wreck? It causes morbid fascination since you know it’s going to be very ugly, but it can’t be stopped, and you can’t stop watching.

    This controversy is starting to feel that way.

  40. - irv & ashland - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 11:27 pm:


    City Board staffers use the term ‘purge’ among themselves all the time - it means clean the list of deadwood. Saying he wasn’t purged is like saying Frank Thomas never hit a 4-bagger … he only hit home runs.

    I’m not saying Rahm’s residency situation is irredeemable, but criticizing people for using the word purge to describe what happened to him is ridiculous.

  41. - irv & ashland - Thursday, Nov 18, 10 @ 11:32 pm:

    For what it’s worth, when I applied for a refinance a month ago, for my building, where I have not yet rented out the apartment where I really don’t spend much time any more (change of living situation), my realtor said “Is anyone else living there? Is your furniture there? Then you can claim it’s your residence” on the mortgage application.

    It’s a different standard from election residency, but I don’t think Rahm could qualify for an owner-occupied refinance when someone else lives there. At least not under post-crash standards.

  42. - irv & ashland - Friday, Nov 19, 10 @ 12:21 am:

    Interesting that none of the campaigns have yet sought to turn Rahm’ confusing, embarrassing residency status in a different direction - after all, he lived in DC for 5 years in an apartment donated by BP. Those aren’t really the progressive values he claims to uphold. A week ago, I don’t think the attack would have found any newsprint, but today, with residence issues already in the news, I think it’s ripe.

  43. - Rich Miller - Friday, Nov 19, 10 @ 1:32 am:

    ===but criticizing people for using the word purge to describe what happened to him is ridiculous. ===

    For the umpteenth time, this is not about the word “purge.” It’s about the alleged conspiracy that did not exist. Don’t be silly.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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* Friends, family remember Fairview soldier killed in Afghanistan
* County high schoolers pick Hillary
* Referral center set up for Murphysboro DHS, closed because of fire

* Disappointing officiating taints otherwise spectacular WNBA Finals
* Nicole Brown's sister to discuss domestic violence, hope in suburbs
* Early voting begins Monday across suburbs
* Boys soccer: Melick's 4 goals help Jacobs nab regional title over Elgin
* Girls tennis: Aurora Christian doubles team stays alive at state

* House lawmakers overcome hurdle on key tra...
* Rodney Davis talks funding with Bloomingto...
* The agency that fought Illiana gets a new ...
* Rep. Dold takes educational cruise down Ch...
* Lawmakers decry high turnover rate of VA h...
* CBD Oil, and politics
* Simon considering state Senate bid
* Killer Congressman Tom MacArthur trying to...
* Shutdown? State may not notice
* Rep. Bob Dold

* US Sen. Dick Durbin urges big pharma actio......
* The Daily Northwestern : U.S. Sen. Dick Du......

* Kirk Far Behind Duckworth in Fundraising f......
* Duckworth leads in Illinois Senate race as......
* Kirk Far Behind Duckworth In Fundraising F......

* Morning Minute: The benefits of walkable neighborhoods
* Medicare To Tackle Drug Costs This Fall
* A Gun Violence Victim In Illinois Every 8 Hours
* Obama Voices Duckworth Campaign Radio Spot
* Cartoon Of The Day
* Cartoon of the Day - 10/21/16 Trump draft dodger
* Auto Problems Top American Consumer Complaint List; Groups Warn Of Fast-Growing Imposter Scams
* Illinois Adds 7,400 Jobs In September, Unemployment Rate Stays At 5.5%
* CFPB power among topics that attract exceptional webinar attention
* Cartoon of the Day 10/19/16 Trump locker room talk

* Illinois EPA Sponsors Interactive Environmental Education Event with Riverton Elementary School - Riverton Third and Fourth Graders “Dive In!” to Celebrate the Environment
* Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs Honors Veteran Mr. George Pempek
* Illinois Partners with State of Telangana, India to Strengthen Smart State Initiatives - State to state agreement to accelerate opportunities and service to citizens
* Illinois EPA Announces Vehicle Emissions Testing Network Updates - New Contract to Offer More Efficient, Less Expensive Tests
* Annual Training Underway For Gas Station Owners, Service Technicans

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