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*** UPDATED x1 *** For once, the state isn’t the villain, believe it or not

Thursday, Oct 14, 2010

*** UPDATE *** From the Sun-Times

As of 4 p.m. [yesterday], 65 of the state’s 102 counties had responded and all but 12 had gotten the ballots out by the deadline, said Rupert Borgsmiller, spokesman for the State Board of Elections.

But the idiocy continues unabated…

* Military ballots may not count in Illinois this year: Gee..think something like this just happens out of the blue (pun intended)?

[ *** End Of Update *** ]

* Let’s make this clear right up front: The state of Illinois does not mail absentee ballots. County clerks and city election authorities do that. So, kindly ignore this breathtakingly ignorant lede from WLS Radio

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether the state of Illinois missed the deadline for mailing absentee ballots to members of the military and other overseas American voters as part of a new federal overseas voting law.

Of course, Drudge linked to WLS’ story with a huge banner headline…

Ok, take a deep breath, Matt. The State of Illinois couldn’t have missed the deadline because the counties or cities (depending) mail the ballots. Also, please disregard this ignorant press release statement by gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady, who really ought to know better…

“I am deeply concerned about today’s disturbing report that Illinois may have failed to mail absentee ballots to our military members serving overseas in a timely manner, and in accordance with the law,” Brady said.

Once again, the state doesn’t mail absentee ballots. So, be sure to pretermit this breathless press release by Congressman Mark Kirk, likely dictated via satellite phone as he was flying over some combat zone in a fighter jet he designed himself…

“Our men and women in uniform are putting their lives on the line everyday to defend our democratic freedoms. What a disgrace it would be if our state denied them theirs. I will do everything in my power to defend the rights of our men and women in uniform. I urge my opponent, Alexi Giannoulias, to stand with me in support of our men and women in uniform.”

“Our state” isn’t denying anybody anything, except timely bill payments, of course, and perhaps quality candidates. And neither is the secretary of state

The Dept. of justice is investigating whether the Democrat Secretary of State for Illinois has somehow forgotten to send thousands of absentee ballots out to members of the military serving overseas

Um, dude, our Illinois secretary of state is not involved with the conduct of elections. You must have Jesse White confused with Katherine Harris. That’s a bit hard to do, though. He’s an older African-American gentleman. She’s an older white woman. He played baseball. She played hardball. Florida is also not Illinois. It’s warm down there in the winter. It’s usually quite cold up here during that particular season. They have palm trees and miles and miles of ocean and Gulf beaches. We don’t. They also have different state laws. Maybe (I doubt it, but maybe) you’re thinking of the Illinois State Board of Elections, which runs one of the worst websites on the planet, but still does not have anything to do with the physical process of actually mailing absentee ballots. That task, you see, is done by counties and city election authorities.

Want proof? Do ‘ya think I’m just defending that nasty Democrat Jesse White because I’m somehow in the tank with him? Well, make sure your tinfoil hat isn’t covering your eyes as you click here and read this from the Illinois State Board of Elections

WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS TO VOTE ABSENTEE

The voter must obtain an application for absentee ballot, either by mail or in person, from their election authority (county clerk or board of election commissioners). Upon receiving the application, the voter completes and returns it to the election authority. It must include their name; home address; address where they want the ballot mailed; party affiliation for a primary election; and signature. The completed application must then be returned to the election authority in the appropriate time frame.

Are we clear now? Can we move along to the real villains in this sad and messed up tale? Thank you.

* Some counties and cities may have really screwed up. Cook County and Chicago were apparently not among them

Officials with two of Illinois’ largest jurisdictions — the Chicago Board of Elections and the Cook County Board of Elections— said Wednesday that they mailed ballots on time.

But we do know of at least one self-admitted violator. And the St. Clair county clerk is undoubtedly in for a very rude awakening

St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney said 1,297 overseas military ballots — many of them connected with Scott Air Force Base — didn’t get sent out until Oct. 4, primarily because he was waiting for a decision on whether the Constitution Party would be allowed on the ballot.

Under the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) act, ballots are supposed to be sent 45 days before the election in order to give troops time to fill them out and return them for counting.

Delaney said it wouldn’t have made financial sense to send out two versions of the ballot if the Constitution Party had won its case.

“This is not just like sending out your grocery list,” Delaney said. “I really don’t care what the Department of Justice thinks.”

“I really don’t care what the Department of Justice thinks.” Famous last words. Sic ‘em, boys. And use the teeth.

For a county clerk to violate federal voter law over a few bucks and perhaps deny members of the military their right to vote is just ridiculous. Apparently, this man has never had to rely on the military mail service. I had to do so as a civilian dependent of my parents when they were stationed in Germany. APO makes the USPS look like e-mail. Heckuva job, Bobby.

Now, as far as I know, counties will count ballots from overseas if they are postmarked by election day. And some counties do a fax and e-mail application service. There are still ways to vote if someone you know is in this mess. Make sure to contact your local election office.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

45 Comments
  1. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 6:33 am:

    Good to know that when Matt Drudge calls the tune (and gets it wrong, imagine that), Brady and Kirk immediately begin to dance.

    How can elected officials have no clue on election law?


  2. - Davey Boy Smithe - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 7:12 am:

    I’ll just continue playing on my Jump To Conclusions mat. Way to clear things up Rich.


  3. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 7:20 am:

    - Also, please disregard this ignorant press release statement by gubernatorial candidate Bill Brady, who really ought to know better… -

    I’m sure he does know better, but why pass up a chance to lie and use soldiers for political gain?


  4. - wizard - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 7:41 am:

    stl: you mean like rahm and the Prez; no letting a good crisis go to waste?


  5. - Bill - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 7:55 am:

    Does this mean that the fbi and ausas are gonna storm the trailer park and pull Bobby out of bed and run him in in shackles?


  6. - onfire - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 8:08 am:

    It’s hard to believe that Brady and Kirk who have both run for office many times, apparently have no clue about the voting process in IL, jump to put out a stupid press release. It never ceases to amaze me.


  7. - train111 - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 8:19 am:

    In terms of accuracy, Drudge is no better than the so called ‘liberal’ lame-stream media. In the end it all comes down to people listening to the media outlet that tells them what they want to hear.

    train111

    train111


  8. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 8:24 am:

    wizard - You’ll have to be more specific; one of my many flaws is that I an unable to understand poorly regurgitated Fox talking points.


  9. - pphs - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 8:25 am:

    And to think that Brady is planning his transition!


  10. - Chad - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 8:36 am:

    Bet on this: There will be an injunction that will require all clerks/city authorities to retain and segregate all late-arriving military ballots. Every one will be counted.


  11. - Amalia - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 8:48 am:

    cue the U.S. Attorney General. wonder if he will be in Illinois soon.


  12. - VoterUSA - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 8:57 am:

    Good Job Rich!!… Matt (the sky is falling)Drudge knows what he is doing…But would love to know what County Clerks are AWOL in this case.


  13. - Justin Boland - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 8:57 am:

    Well…I will definitely be hearing about this allll day.


  14. - Reformer - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 9:09 am:

    Since Cook County got the ballots out on time, I’ll bet that Kirk and Brady have no interest in attacking downstate county clerks who are the actual culprits.
    As far as letting everyone vote, GOP legislators vote against every bill to make voting easier on college campuses or by absentee ballot when having to list a reason was eliminated.


  15. - I'm Just Saying - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 9:17 am:

    Nobody wants to mention what the counties are, which ones are they, and how many are downstate GOP Counties?


  16. - wndycty - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 9:26 am:

    Rich, this post needs to be shared nationwide because too many media outlets use the Drudge Report for their planning.


  17. - wordslinger - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 9:29 am:

    Where’s the praise for the Obama Justice Department in working to make sure that soldiers aren’t disenfranchised? Or for the Chicago Board of Elections and Cook County Board of Elections for getting it right?

    I mean, this isn’t a partisan issue, is it? It’s all about the soldiers, right? Maybe Kirk and Brady should ask their boss, Drudge.


  18. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 9:30 am:

    ===I will do everything in my power to defend the rights of our men and women in uniform,===

    Except the soldiers who happen to be gay. Kirk doesn’t think they should have the right to serve. He’s wrong again, doubly so in this case.


  19. - zatoichi - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 9:35 am:

    So is this one county, 50% of counties, or everyone except Cook and Chicago? Volume changes the story.


  20. - The End Is Near - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 9:41 am:

    “‘Our state’ isn’t denying anybody anything, except timely bill payments, of course, and perhaps quality candidates.”

    Amen, Rich.


  21. - TimB - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 9:46 am:

    “I really don’t care what the Department of Justice thinks.” = “Bring it on”

    Hope Mr. Delaney has on his big boy pants.


  22. - Responsa - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 9:47 am:

    Actually, isn’t the state board of elections responsible for ensuring Federal law with respect to elections is carried out by the county clerks offices. Don’t they oversee and monitor the county clerks compliance on such things as service people’s absentees? I, too, want to know the scale of this. One county or many?


  23. - Far Northsider - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 9:56 am:

    Thanks for the clear, clear post Rich! I am appalled that Brady and Kirk have time to put out misinformation. Now the trick is to get Drudge to report the REAL story. Anyway to contact each of the jurisdictions and find out the date they mailed out military ballots?


  24. - CircularFiringSquad - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 10:12 am:

    So I guess we should conclude that if NoTaxBill and CommandoMakeItUp know so little about elections should they be allowed to be in one?
    Self disqualified.
    Fire,Aim Ready!
    Thanks again for keeping it close

    BTW the badly flawed SIU/Simon Poll was reported on Hardball last nite — more misinformation all the time.


  25. - ItsReal - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 10:18 am:

    Apparently some of you didn’t read the WLS article which states the following about the states requirement to insure the 110 jurisdictions are compliant.

    ==In an e-mail response, Justice Department spokeswoman Xochil Hinojosa confirmed that “Illinois” is being investigated for the absentee ballot infraction.==

    Isn’t this Obama’s Justice Department are they lying? I suppose it’s a political move?

    Seems like it’s the state that is responsible as stated in the article.

    ==Cris Cray, Director of Legislation at the Illinois State Board of Elections, says not all of Illinois’ 110 jurisdictions were compliant with the 2009 Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment Act (MOVE).==

    Of course which counties aren’t compliant is a big issue as the article goes on to say.

    ==The Justice Department settled a case with New Mexico Tuesday where six counties failed to mail ballots by the deadline.

    Overseas ballots could be a deciding factor in Illinois’ mid-term elections where recent polls show a tight U.S. Senate race between Republican Mark Kirk and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias. Republican Bill Brady has an edge over Democratic incumbent Pat Quinn for governor.==


  26. - D.P. Gumby - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 10:30 am:

    I’m so glad our Republican defenders of the Constitution are so well versed in the law. Reminds me of the Lady Teabagger interviewed at a rally talking about the Constitution she carries in her purse, but hasn’t really read.


  27. - special dispensation - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 10:38 am:

    I thought military ballots had to be counted even if they came in after the elction. I dont think this is a big deal


  28. - too obvious - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 10:42 am:

    What’s really shameless is that Mark Kirk and Bill Brady were working together with the Illinois Republican Party on all the petition challenges that slowed everything up.


  29. - Responsa - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 10:48 am:

    SD, current federal law says ballots must be mailed to overseas service personnel 45 days before elections. Whether only one county or many are in violation, it IS kind of a big deal for a county clerk to violate federal election law, you know?


  30. - justsickofit - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 10:50 am:

    good job, Rich


  31. - M. Fox - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 10:53 am:

    How on earth is this a smoking gun? The point is, some of our military isn’t going to get to vote. Whether it was a county or the State doesn’t matter. And, furthermore, the headline and WLS are both right. Counties are in the State of IL for crying out loud. I’ve been listening to WLS all morning and the story has been from the beginning that “some COUNTIES in IL have not mailed out the ballots.” Why aren’t you concerned that the military is being disenfranchised instead of arguing semantics over a headline???


  32. - special dispensation - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 10:54 am:

    not when a federal court hasn’t ruled on the ballot. it would be far worse on the military if their first ballot was voided as a result of a federal court decision. I would say the clerks that waited made the right decision.


  33. - Pat Robertson - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 10:54 am:

    ==I’m sure he does know better, but why pass up a chance to lie and use soldiers for political gain?==

    If you believe Clausewitz, that war is just a continuation of politics by other means, political gain is what soldiers are used for.

    And while we’re quoting Germans, there is always Bismarck, who said that, “People never lie so much as after a hunt, during a war or before an election.”


  34. - been there - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 10:55 am:

    “pretermit”—cool word that i never read or heard before so i just googled it. thanks!


  35. - just sayin' - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 11:02 am:

    It’s certainly true that the local election authorities mail out the ballots. But the State Board of Elections is still charged by statute with overseeing the statewide election process. I wouldn’t be so quick to let the state off the hook.


  36. - Small Town Liberal - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 11:05 am:

    - Why aren’t you concerned that the military is being disenfranchised instead of arguing semantics over a headline??? -

    Well, there is an election in 19 days, and Republicans are trying to make it seem like their opponents had something to do with it. So if you don’t want people focusing on semantics, call the Right Wing and tell them to stop lying about the issue.


  37. - RFK fan - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 11:10 am:

    Hey, I’m registered in Macon County, I’m military in Egypt right now, and I got my ballot on time. I’m just sayin’. And voted Democratic, BTW.


  38. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 11:12 am:

    ===Why aren’t you concerned that the military is being disenfranchised instead of arguing semantics over a headline??? ===

    You apparently did not read all the way down…

    ===For a county clerk to violate federal voter law over a few bucks and perhaps deny members of the military their right to vote is just ridiculous. Apparently, this man has never had to rely on the military mail service. I had to do so as a civilian dependent of my parents when they were stationed in Germany. APO makes the USPS look like e-mail. Heckuva job, Bobby.===

    Bite me, moron.


  39. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 11:13 am:

    I hope this blows up big for Delaney, but too bad the GOP didn’t field a candidate against him. He could have printed each ballot and mailed them together.
    BTW, who else besides apparently Delaney mails out their grocery list?


  40. - special dispensation - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 11:14 am:

    Again. military ballots can come in late and must be counted and if you have ever followed absentee ballot reuturns from Shiloh Township you would know they dont hav a problem getting ballots returned. The military brass make it a top priority.


  41. - Honest Abe - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 11:23 am:

    Rich:

    You are completely correct about the County Clerks being responsible for sending out military ballots in most election jurisdictions (apart from those served by boards of elections in selected locations). You are also right that the Illinois Secretary of State no longer performs too many election duties — the Illinois State Board of Elections was created to address the misconduct that occurred when the Secretary of State demonstrated too much partisan bias in performing election duties. Nevertheless, it is a scandal that certain Illinois counties did not comply with the military ballot provisions. The primary was in February after all.


  42. - Ken Po - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 12:07 pm:

    If the State Board of Elections doesn’t perform oversight of something like this, what is the agency’s purpose?


  43. - OldSmoky2 - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 12:22 pm:

    == How on earth is this a smoking gun? The point is, some of our military isn’t going to get to vote. Whether it was a county or the State doesn’t matter. And, furthermore, the headline and WLS are both right. Counties are in the State of IL for crying out loud. ==

    And the state of Illinois is in the United States. And the United States is in the UN. And on and on the conspiracy deepens… Somebody cue the black choppers before Drudge exposes it all.


  44. - sal-says - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 2:48 pm:

    “Our state” isn’t denying anybody anything, except timely bill payments, of course, and perhaps quality candidates.

    PERFECT !


  45. - Vote Quimby! - Thursday, Oct 14, 10 @ 3:08 pm:

    Belleville News-Democrat reports St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney, running unopposed on Nov. 2, did not mail out duplicate ballots to active-duty military serving overseas because they would have cost TWO DOLLARS EACH. Disgusting! Link:
    http://www.bnd.com/2010/10/14/1437912/military-ballots-went-out-two.html


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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