*** UPDATE *** So, here it is. St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney didn’t mail out absentee ballots to military service members because it would’ve cost him $2 a pop. Sheesh…
Delaney, a Democrat, said if he had mailed out the ballots before the court ruling had come down, putting the Constitution Party back on the ballot, “I would have had to redo the whole thing again” — at a cost of $2 per ballot, Delaney said.
* And the Sun-Times looks at the numbers…
[ *** End Of Update *** ]
Figures Illinois election officials sent to the Justice Department on Friday show no evidence of an effort by Democratic local election officials to hold back ballots from Republican-leaning soldiers serving overseas:
• Of the 16,575 absentee ballots requested in Illinois, only 1,832 — 11 percent — have been requested by servicemen and women serving overseas.
• The vast majority of absentee ballots are going to non-military citizens living overseas or who will be out-of-town on Election Day, college students studying abroad, etc. — voters who have no automatic tendency toward either party. And, actually, under the new no-excuse-necessary absentee voting laws, voters need not even be out of town to vote absentee. […]
• Far more Illinois servicemen and women serving in-country have requested ballots – 5,650 – than servicemen and women serving out of country: 1,832.
• Half the absentee ballots requested are being e-mailed and so could be e-mailed back just as quickly.
* Remember how St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney defended his decision to mail hundreds of military and overseas absentee ballots 16 days late despite federal law? Well, Delaney now says the State Board of Elections knew about his decision…
Delaney said he informed the Illinois State Board of Elections of his decision to delay the ballots’ mailing after receiving an e-mail message several days before the Sept. 18 deadline.
“I told the state what I was doing, the state board knew it,” he said.
But according to the state board’s executive director Dan White, the board told Delaney that he needed to comply with the law. Delaney was told he couldn’t wait for a final court decision on whether the Constitution Party would remain on the ballot. Delaney waited anyway.
“We told him not to delay printing up the ballots and that he had to abide by state and federal law,” White told me this afternoon. “Yeah, we knew, but we also told him what he had to do.”
* I also asked Director White about a report at Breitbart’s Big Government website which is headlined: “Illinois Elections Officials Caught Lying About Military Ballots.” An excerpt…
On September 14th, Justin Weinstein-Tull, an attorney at [the Department of Justice’s] Voting Section contacted Dan White, Executive Director of the Illinois State Board of Elections regarding the September 18th deadline to mail military ballots […]
On September 20, Cris Cray, Director of Legislation at the Illinois State Board of Elections, sent this reply to Weinstein-Tull: In response to your request to monitor our local election officials, please be advised that Illinois military and overseas ballots went out between September 3rd (Illinois law) and September 18th (Federal law). From this point forward, all requests received will be mailed out that same day.
White said that the e-mail to DoJ was “based on incomplete information” that the Board had at the time. “We had a helluva time getting information” from the local election boards, White said.
The problem with that story, however, is the board knew that Clerk Delaney was intending to resist compliance by the time that e-mail was sent to DoJ.
* You can read the complete list of election boards that allegedly didn’t comply with state and federal law by clicking here. Most of those were sent just a few days late. St. Clair County was by far the biggest offender at 1,274 late-mailed overseas ballots.
34 counties were late, but White said the Department of Justice is narrowing its focus to just a handful of jurisdictions that were really late, sending out the ballots on Oct. 4th, 5th or 8th. And all but one of those counties involved just a few late-mailed ballots. St. Clair was by far the worst.
* Meanwhile, the state GOP is threatening a lawsuit…
Leaders in the Illinois Republican Party are pushing the U.S. Justice Department to extend the deadline for turning in military and overseas ballots. State Chairman Pat Brady said that if the Justice Department does not extend the deadline, he would file a lawsuit in federal court. Chairman Brady said: “if a meaningful extension is not granted, we will file a civil rights lawsuit on behalf of our servicemen and women.”
* And Republican US Senate candidate Mark Kirk held a press conference this morning in St. Clair County with Congressman John Shimkus…
Kirk has jumped on the news that some Illinois counties did not meet a deadline for mailing ballots to soldiers serving overseas. Kirk, a member of the Navy Reserve, calls it a disgrace.
But at a news conference Friday, Kirk didn’t specifically accuse anyone of delaying the ballots for political reasons.
* But Doug Ibendahl notes that the GOP’s hands aren’t clean…
As we have reported… it was the Illinois Republican Party’s objection (done under the name of two phony “objectors” recruited by Pat Brady’s operation) to the statewide slate of Constitution Party candidates that caused the delay. Ironically, the Constitution Party’s slate was led by a military veteran: U.S. Senate candidate Randy Stufflebeam. Randy served his country for 22 years in the United States Marine Corps.
Pat Brady should have known that when he backed objections to 23 candidates that there would be a good chance he might infringe on the voting rights of our military personnel. But it’s pretty obvious Brady didn’t care.
The intent of the Republican and Democratic parties in filing objections isn’t just to kick “competition” off the ballot – rather the main purpose is to keep the candidates occupied and to drag out the process. A candidate tied up in court can’t be out campaigning.
* And Greg Hinz reminds us of this…
But state elections chief Dan White notes that counties and cities like Chicago can wait until as late as Nov. 16 — two weeks after the election — to count any straggler votes.