[Bumped up to Friday morning for visibility.]
* Rick Pearson…
A federal judge on Thursday rejected a bid by the Cook County Republican Party to block the state’s enhanced vote-by-mail program, rejecting as conjecture allegations that the program was a scheme aimed at disenfranchising GOP voters.
U.S. District Judge Robert Dow ruled the Cook County GOP also was tardy in filing its lawsuit in August seeking a preliminary injunction over the law approved in May as an effort to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic by offering an alternative to traditional in-person voting.
Dow’s ruling also noted existing state statute is aimed at preventing so-called ballot harvesting by political operatives, requiring a voter authorization signed on the exterior of vote-by-mail ballots that are dropped off to election authorities or at drop boxes as an alternative. […]
“Looking at the record compiled to date in this litigation, however, Plaintiff (the Cook County GOP) has provided no basis for concluding that its alleged harms are anything but speculative and therefore fails to demonstrate that ‘irreparable injury is likely in the absence of an injunction,’” Dow wrote.
Judge Dow was appointed by President George W. Bush.
The disputed measures include expanded use of secure ballot drop boxes and requiring officials to accept ballots without enough postage, among others. Republicans cited news articles and isolated cases of election fraud to back their claim.
But the allegations “rest primarily on unsupported speculation and secondarily on isolated instances of voter fraud in other states and historical examples from Illinois during the prior century,” the judge wrote. “Plaintiff cannot demonstrate either that it is likely to suffer irreparable harm or that it has some chance of success on the merits.” — Erik Larson