* Cook County Republican Party v. JB Pritzker et al, filed today in federal court in Chicago…
1. Voting is a fundamental, constitutional right that is central to our American democracy.
2. Governor J.B. Pritzker violated this right by signing into law a partisan voting scheme that is designed to harvest Democratic ballots, dilute Republican ballots, and, if the election still doesn’t turn out the way he wants it, to generate enough Democratic ballots after election day to sway the result. See Public Act 101-0642 a/k/a SB 1863, 101st General Assembly (“SB 1863”). The remaining Defendants are charged with carrying out this partisan scheme.
3. This civil action for declaratory and injunctive relief is filed to stop SB 1863 from going into effect. The claims arise under the First and 14th Amendments of the U.S. Constitution; 42 U.S.C. Section 1983; 28 U.S.C. § 2201(a); and Article III, Section 4 of the Illinois Constitution.
* There are a ton of political claims made in the “Factual allegations” section…
The Democrats in the Illinois General Assembly snuck through SB 1863 in five days, from May 18-22, 2020, by hijacking a bill about the Freedom of Information Act, amending it to advance their partisan election agenda, and rushing it to passage before the people of Illinois could weigh in with their opposition.
SB 1863 was introduced in the Senate on February 15, 2019, as an amendment to the Freedom of Information Act, passed the Senate on April 4, 2019, underwent First Reading in the House on April 9, 2019, underwent Second Reading in the House on May 22, 2019, and languished for a year.
SB 1863 was suddenly rewritten in 2020 by House Floor Amendment 5, which was filed on May 19, 2020, and House Floor Amendment 6, which was filed on May 21, 2020. The bill passed the House later the same day, with only one Republican voting in favor. The Senate passed it the next day, with no Republicans voting in favor. […]
SB 1863 creates a partisan voting scheme that is designed to directly disenfranchise voters disfavored by Pritzker, to dilute the votes of those disfavored by Pritzker, and to violate the secrecy of voting in Illinois.
Many aspects of SB 1863 work together to create the scheme by which Pritzker plans to disenfranchise the Republican Party
The scheme begins by putting as many ballots into play for the election as possible by mailing an application for a mail-in ballot to every voter who voted in the 2018 general election, the 2019 consolidated election, or the 2020 general primary election. 10 ILCS 5/2B-15(b). That amounts to roughly 5 million mail-in ballot applications, which were supposed to have been sent by August 1.
A high likelihood exists that applications were sent to people who may no longer be eligible to vote in Illinois. For example, the Wall Street Journal discovered that at least one former voter in Washington state recently received his ballot in the mail at his new address in Texas.
The states that use mail-in voting took years to perfect their process as they enlarged eligibility gradually before launching statewide. Implementing vote- by-mail is a learning process. State officials must identify qualified vendors for printing ballots, develop tracking systems so voters can be assured their ballots will arrive on time, and develop methods of reviewing signatures that reduce the number of rejected ballots. Doing so takes “decades, not months.”
Attempting to implement a process overnight in a state as large as Illinois will inevitably lead to thousands of lost and delayed ballot applications and ballots. A recent election in another large state that rushed into voting by mail shows the perils that lie ahead for Illinois. Over 80,000 New York City Democratic presidential primary ballots were not counted in the June 23 election because they arrived late, lacked a postmark, failed to include a signature, or contained other defects. This number meant that a staggering 21% of the votes cast were not counted.
The hurried nature of implementation is not the only hurdle Illinois faces. Illinois state government is one of the most inept in the Union, and the public has no reason to expect a vote-by-mail system to work any more smoothly than a variety of projects Illinois has stumbled through in recent years.
For example, Illinois has suffered more than 120,000 cases of unemployment fraud during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
And it goes on and on like that for a while.
* To the meat of it…
Among many of the practical deficiencies of the Illinois vote-by-mail scheme is that it does not comport with recommendations issued by the United States Postal Service.
According to the USPS Inspector General, “ballots requested less than seven days before an election are at a high risk of not being delivered, completed by voters, and returned to the election offices in time.”
But Illinois allows voters to request an absentee ballot as late as October 29, 2020 – three business days before the election.
Indeed, the Inspector General’s report indicates that the Illinois deadline “put[s] ballots at high risk of not being delivered to voters before an election.”
Also, the Inspector General’s report states that “election offices should be educated on the benefits [that Intelligent Mail Barcodes] provide.” Id. at 7. Intelligent Mail Barcodes (IMbs) allow mailers and the Postal Service to track each ballot and would enable the Postal Service and election authorities to track ballots and identify delays.
SB 1863 makes no provision that mail ballots be tracked with IMbs or any other tracking device; therefore, thousands of voters will be disenfranchised when their ballots are lost in the mail.
For the ballots that are received by election authorities, the system for counting so many mail-in ballots will be overtaxed, leading to lax procedures for ensuring the secrecy of the ballot.
In addition to incompetence, SB 1863 will breed corruption. While other states may use mail-in voting, implementing a system overnight “in a state as notorious for election fraud as Illinois is” will open the door to criminal activity. Nader v. Keith, 385 F.3d 729, 733 (7th Cir. 2004). As the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals already recognized, “Oregon, for example, has switched to a system of all- mail voting. O.R.S. § 254.465. But what works in the state of Oregon doesn’t necessarily work in Illinois, especially in light of the colorful history of vote fraud we’ve seen.”
The provision of the voting scheme that is most important to committing voter fraud is ballot harvesting. SB 1863 allows for ballot harvesting, in which a paid, partisan operative may collect Democratic mail-in ballot applications and ballots to ensure that they are turned in and counted and may collect Republican mail-in ballot applications and ballots to ensure that they are not turned in and counted.
And, again, it goes on like that for a while.
* To the postal service aspect, here’s Bernie…
As he was planning last month for the rollout of the state’s new rules concerning mail-in ballots for the Nov. 3 election, Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray said he wouldn’t be using the option of having drop-boxes.
Gray, whose office oversees elections in the county, had said that he had “concerns about the chain of custody of ballots” if they weren’t mailed or brought to his office in person during business hours.
But after receiving a copy of an ominous letter from the general counsel of the United States Postal Service, Gray is rethinking his position.
″… (U)nder our reading of Illinois’ election laws, certain deadlines for requesting and casting mail-in ballots are incongruous with the Postal Service’s delivery standards,” said the July 30 letter from Thomas Marshall. “This mismatch creates a risk that ballots requested near the deadline under state law will not be returned by mail in time to be counted under your laws as we understand them.”
That USPS letter is here.
*** UPDATE *** Jordan Abudayyeh in the governor’s office…
This lawsuit is a desperate political attempt to suppress the vote.