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Illinois Policy Institute wins Round 2 of EDR battle

Thursday, Sep 29, 2016

* AP

A federal judge has denied an Illinois attorney general’s office request for him to reverse his own decision halting same-day voter registration at polling stations.

A Thursday hearing in Chicago federal court lasted just minutes as Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan told lawyers the request is denied.

He ruled earlier this week that the same-day registration option as written benefited Democratic strongholds, like Chicago, and disadvantaged rural regions

Lisa Madigan’s office argued that yanking the option so close to the Nov. 8 election would unfairly deny some citizens voting rights. But in a two-page written explanation Thursday explaining his latest ruling, Der-Yeghiayan says, “This court did not restrict the rights of any voters. The legislation did.”

Madigan’s rejected motion to stay the ruling is here. She plans to appeal. I’ll post the judge’s written decision as soon as I get it.

…Adding… The judge’s order is here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

38 Comments
  1. - so... - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 12:55 pm:

    Funny what happens when you get a judge whose primary qualification isn’t how many precincts he walked for Mike Madigan


  2. - Anon - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:00 pm:

    How to get the U.S. Supreme Court to take up your case:

    ===“This court did not restrict the rights of any voters. The legislation did.”===


  3. - interesting - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:01 pm:

    ==- so… - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 12:55 pm:

    Funny what happens when you get a judge whose primary qualification isn’t how many precincts he walked for Mike Madigan ==

    How many judges do you think actually walked a precinct for Madigan? I’ll bet not many, if any. But good to see you buy into the rhetoric.


  4. - so... - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:02 pm:

    ==Funny what happens when you get a judge whose primary qualification isn’t how many precincts he walked for Mike Madigan ==

    How many judges do you think actually walked a precinct for Madigan? I’ll bet not many, if any. But good to see you buy into the rhetoric.==

    How about this one: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-09-01/news/0209010292_1_lisa-madigan-harris-contributions-andrew-harris


  5. - so... - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:04 pm:

    There’s also these ones: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-met-judges-madigan-take2-20110415-story.html


  6. - interesting - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:06 pm:

    You think a letter of recommendation automatically means the person walked precincts or did political work? You have no idea how the legal communities works. Man, you need to stop reading all of the hype from the Policy Institute.


  7. - Chicago_Downstater - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:09 pm:

    Legitimate question: Is it not within the judge’s purview to order every polling station in Illinois to comply with same-day registry?

    Yah, I get that would be a logistical nightmare. But if he could order it, then I’d think expanding access to voter registry–not limiting it–would be the most logically coherent ruling.


  8. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:11 pm:

    Political involvement is not necessarily a primary qualification for a judgeship, but it doesn’t hurt. Like in other professions, there are some really brilliant, good judges out there, and there are others where you really, really wonder how they got there. Being the sharpest knife in the drawer sometimes doesn’t get you that appointment. The powers that be doing the appointing, and the voters at election time, don’t always get it right.


  9. - Not It - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:11 pm:

    I was mostly indifferent on this issue before, but there was a panel on it on Chicago Tonight last night and the people upset by the decision just couldn’t explain why it was fair that people who live in mostly Democratic areas have easier access to voting than people in mostly Republican. Surely that is partisan and inappropriate. I hate to admit it but IPI has a solid arguement (for once).


  10. - Bluegrass Boy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:11 pm:

    Hypothetically couldn’t you argue that same-day registration actually benefits rural voters since they wouldn’t have to make multiple trips to town to 1-register and 2-vote?
    (I know this is a big cause for the Dems who like to bring in people on voting day. I’m just playing Devils Advocate here….)


  11. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:13 pm:

    –Legitimate question: Is it not within the judge’s purview to order every polling station in Illinois to comply with same-day registry?–

    Probably not. That would be rewriting the legislation, or “legislating from the bench.” Judges have the power to strike down laws as unconstitutional, not rewrite them. If it’s unconstitutional as written, that provision goes. Sometimes laws are written in multiple sections though were if one is declared unconstitutional, it is specifically written that the rest survive.


  12. - Big Muddy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:17 pm:

    =Legitimate question: Is it not within the judge’s purview to order every polling station in Illinois to comply with same-day registry?=

    Nope. That would be expanding the legislation to cover more than the legislative branch wanted. Judge was right to kick this. Clearly election tilting going on here. I know. Shocking in Illinois right?


  13. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:18 pm:

    – Hypothetically couldn’t you argue that same-day registration actually benefits rural voters since they wouldn’t have to make multiple trips to town to 1-register and 2-vote? –

    If allowed at the precinct, sure. The issue here is that they might have to drive 10, 20+ miles to the county seat to do it.


  14. - Dee Lay - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:29 pm:

    No has been able to explain how this restricts the rights of rural voters.

    If it used the word “Shall” it would be an #UnfundedMandate and a burden.

    But since is uses the word “May,” it’s restricting?


  15. - Thoughts Matter - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:33 pm:

    There are lots of ways to register to vote prior to Election Day- including various efforts to register people during public events. I feel that if you waited till Election Day to register, then you can go to a central location. If it had been important to you, you’d have gotten it handled. I don’t care what race or class you are.

    We need to worry more about the number of voting locations, machines and hours for everyone to be able to easily vote rather than people who didn’t bother to register.


  16. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:58 pm:

    –No has been able to explain how this restricts the rights of rural voters.–

    The argument and judge’s opinion seems to be that while voters in urban counties can show up at their precinct on Election Day and be registered and vote under this law, the law permits an unequal result in some rural counties where people would show up at their precinct but would not be registered or allowed to vote, and instead would be sent to the county courthouse however far away that may be. Whether this is the right result or not, voting is treated as a fundamental right and any time a law treats voters differently on its face or in its practical effects, it is subject to a high level of scrutiny. The drafters should have anticipated that anything that does not treat voters equally across the board would be subject to challenge.


  17. - Team Sleep - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 2:19 pm:

    Bluegrass & Dee Lay - let’s use Adams County as an example. Quincy is a city of 41,000, but the rest of the county is relatively small and the county has less than 70,000 residents. If you live in a town such as Camp Point then you would have to drive 25 minutes each way for same-day, election day voting. That is an (at minimum) hour-long commitment for something that takes a Springfield or Rockford or Wheaton resident a mere fraction of the time (sans lines). I grew up and have campaigned quite a bit downstate, and I know that people in very remote areas of Illinois often live 20-30 minutes or more away from the county seat. Quincy and Adams County was just one example, but I believe 80+ counties have that same issue.


  18. - Anonymous - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 2:37 pm:

    This is another in a series of Election Code revisions approved in the lame duck session of the legislature and signed into law by former Governor Pat Quinn which has been struck down as unconstitutional in recent weeks.

    Given the numerous opportunities to register to vote which exist already, it is difficult to understand why some people find it too hard to take care of business before the polls open.


  19. - Retired Lawyer - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 2:52 pm:

    Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan has little connection to the Democratic Party especially Rep. Madigan. He is a Republican appointed to the Court by President George W. Bush. The paranoid among us might speculate that the reason for the action by the libertarian Illinois Policy Institute and the Judge’s ruling would be to restrict registration of voters possibly favorable to Democrats (urban voters and poor).


  20. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 2:53 pm:

    And for those who might say “well, it’s the county’s decision whether or not to offer precinct level EDR,” that raises a constitutional question of whether county officials SHOULD be allowed to make that decision. In other words, if the legislature has to treat all voters equally in ballot access, can they circumvent that by giving county officials an option to give their county’s voters the same access as urban voters or not?


  21. - JB13 - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 2:57 pm:

    Dee Lay - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:29 pm:

    “No has been able to explain how this restricts the rights of rural voters.”

    This case is a beautiful partisan Rohrschach test.


  22. - interesting - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:05 pm:

    ==- Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 1:13 pm:

    –Legitimate question: Is it not within the judge’s purview to order every polling station in Illinois to comply with same-day registry?–

    Probably not. That would be rewriting the legislation, or “legislating from the bench.” Judges have the power to strike down laws as unconstitutional, not rewrite them. If it’s unconstitutional as written, that provision goes. Sometimes laws are written in multiple sections though were if one is declared unconstitutional, it is specifically written that the rest survive. ==

    I disagree. The law requires same day registration in each precinct, but allows the county to opt out in they don’t have the proper equipment. The judge could have held the opt out unconstitutional, rather than the entire law. My guess is the drafters anticipated any challenge could result in everyone being required, rather than no one.


  23. - Retired Lawyer - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:25 pm:

    ==-interesting - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 3:05 pm:

    I agree with you. A law that authorizes registration in every precinct of the State does not discriminate or restricts the rights of voters. It is only those precincts and counties that don’t participate and disallow in precinct registration that are discriminating and restricting the rights of voters. Moreover, I am not impressed by any alleged administrative burden caused by polling station registration that would limit rural compliance.


  24. - Huh? - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:26 pm:

    The judge’s order reads like he was a little exasperated by the appeal and wrote “What don’t you understand about “NO”, the “N” or the “O”.


  25. - T Sowell - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:38 pm:

    ==How many judges do you think actually walked a precinct for Madigan? I’ll bet not many, if any. But good to see you buy into the rhetoric.

    The Judges might not walk a precinct (except for their first election ) ; but they sure listen to Timothy Evans and he gets his marching orders directly from MJM


  26. - Veil of Ignorance - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:51 pm:

    This was predictable outcome given how conservative this judge is known to be; he also has one of the highest rates of reversal by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (hardly a liberal stronghold). Just saying…plaintiffs were playing at home, but now they’ll need to play on neutral territory.


  27. - Clark - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:51 pm:

    Oh no, now I’ll never be able to vote in November even though I can register to vote online by Oct 23rd, register by mail by Oct 11th, or even after election day this year! This is terrible news!


  28. - Veil of Ignorance - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:52 pm:

    Oh and for other commenters…this is FEDERAL court.


  29. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:55 pm:

    ===now I’ll never===

    Perhaps nobody ever told you this, but the world doesn’t revolve around you.


  30. - Veil of Ignorance - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 3:57 pm:

    Yes, let’s mock new American citizens, the elderly who might’ve moved, young first-time voters, and thousands of others who for unknown reasons must justify others whether they’re “worthy” to others to vote, which given what’s occurred this election year is a preposterous argument. The only qualification is legal eligibility; if this can be safely confirmed, then any other barrier is just an arbitrary barrier. You know, like literacy tests and poll taxes. Can we just be honest that’s what’s going on here?


  31. - titan - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 4:04 pm:

    Huh? @ 3:26 — under the federal court rules, a party can’t ask the appellate court for a stay until after the trial court has been asked and denied it. It was a totally pro forma act, that no one expected to be granted. But look for the motion to be presented to the 7th Circuit very shortly.


  32. - DD - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 4:20 pm:

    ** Yes, let’s mock new American citizens, the elderly who might’ve moved, young first-time voters, and thousands of others who for unknown reasons must justify others whether they’re “worthy” to others to vote, which given what’s occurred this election year is a preposterous argument. The only qualification is legal eligibility; if this can be safely confirmed, then any other barrier is just an arbitrary barrier. You know, like literacy tests and poll taxes. Can we just be honest that’s what’s going on here? **

    None of those is an excuse for not registering on time.


  33. - Chucktownian - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 4:24 pm:

    There’s a very good chance of this being reversed on appeal. This is a perpetuation of the old right wing equal protection argument a la Bush v. Gore that anything that might cause the GOP trouble must be stopped immediately, especially if it involves people actually more freely exercising their democratic right to vote or having their votes counted. The GOP knows it is in the minority nationwide but they’re using their control over the levers of power to stay in power anyway. There’s a terrible reckoning coming for them eventually. Without major ideological change, I think the GOP may cease to exist as a party in my lifetime.


  34. - DD - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 4:27 pm:

    ** Without major ideological change, I think the GOP may cease to exist as a party in my lifetime. **

    Not exactly. Moderates and Conservatives still outnumber liberals 2 to 1.

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/188129/conservatives-hang-ideology-lead-thread.aspx


  35. - Keyrock - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 4:31 pm:

    The ruling may or may not be correct, but some of the comments about this judge are not.

    This judge was appointed because of a longstanding personal friendship with former AG John Ashcroft, not merit. His background was limited to Immigration law. Lawyers who have appeared before him (including me) view him as one of the weakest judges in the District Court in Chicago. He does have a high reversal rate.

    We’ll wait and see if he got this one correct.


  36. - park - Thursday, Sep 29, 16 @ 6:45 pm:

    the first comment on this topic says it all. It’s unfortunate that the Attorney General is so political on these issues.


  37. - Downstate Illinois - Friday, Sep 30, 16 @ 8:38 am:

    Everyone has an equal right to register to vote when registration is open. This law allowed urban voters more rights to register when registration was closed. It fails the 14th Amendment’s equal protection under the law clause, plain and simple.


  38. - Chicago_Downstater - Wednesday, Oct 5, 16 @ 12:48 pm:

    @Ron Burgundy
    @interesting

    I know this is very late, but today’s stay posting brought me back here.

    Thank you both for answering my question. I did some light research, but my forte is numbers and theory; not the implementation of law. I’m still not sure, but–thanks to your posts–I think I’m better informed as to what I’m not sure about.

    Thanks again!


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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