Friday, October 29, 2010

Ah, those fine Illinois election officials choose felons over soldiers

In Illinois those in charge of elections seem to want to live down to all the stereotypes and jokes about politics in their state. Consider this report from IBD. Somehow, they just couldn't fulfill their legal responsibility to get absentee ballots out to those in the military from Illinois who are serving abroad.
The president's home state gets a pass from the Justice Department on ensuring its soldiers overseas can vote. An administration obsessed with gays in the military doesn't care about voting rights for GIs.

You can call it a tragedy of errors, a perfect storm of incompetent and uncaring bureaucrats, or you can call it a deliberate attempt to steal what looks to be a close race for both governor and U.S. senator in President Obama's home state by disenfranchising its servicemen overseas, votes likely to tilt Republican.

Consider that the Illinois primary was in February and that the deadline to print and mail ballots to soldiers fighting for democracy in places like Iraq and Afghanistan was Sept. 18 — long enough, one would think, for even the slowest bureaucracy to do the job mandated under the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) act.

A seven-month lead time apparently wasn't enough for the incompetent administration of Gov. Pat Quinn, successor to the walking reality TV show, Rod Blagojevich, to ensure that all counties get their ducks in a row. Quinn is coincidentally locked in a tough battle with Illinois state Sen. Bill Brady where military votes could be decisive.

The Justice Department, which has been woefully lax in enforcing MOVE and ensuring compliance among a number of states that have missed their deadlines, reached an agreement in court last Friday with 35 Illinois counties that didn't get their ballots out on time. Six counties got an extension by two or three days to receive and count overseas ballots by Nov. 16.

The other 29 counties essentially got a pass. Justice spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa said these counties already have 14 extra days after the election to count soldiers' ballots. But if any votes aren't counted in a timely manner, she said, "we can file a lawsuit." This is not how soldiers who may get killed not knowing if their votes counted should be treated.
How convenient of the Obama Justice Department to decide not to do more to enforce federal law. We can all imagine what their reaction would be if those being disfranchised weren't soldiers, but minorities. Or imagine how they would respond of soldiers were known to be a reliable Democrat voting bloc.

But those Illinois election officials who can't get ballots to the military are working hard to get ballots into the hands of...felons.
Meanwhile, the Chicago Board of Elections hand-delivers ballots to inmates in Cook County Jail. The board doesn't even wait for the inmates to apply — it brings the applications with the ballots! More than 2,600 inmates have cast ballots — strikingly similar to the 2,600 soldiers who will likely not receive a ballot for Tuesday's election.
Isn't that sweet? The felons don't even have to ask for their ballots, Cook County officials will hand deliver the ballots to them while they sit in jail.

Hmmmm. Any guess how those felons will vote?

Such is the way in which Illinois officials conduct elections when there are close races throughout the state. They take care to get out the vote for their base even if their base is sitting in jail.


Bachbone said...

Military members know how Obama & Co. really feel about them - just like Bill Clinton feels - he "loathes the military." Gore, the military remembers, fought to stop the military's ballots from being counted. Obama just uses military men and women for photo ops.

Too few in Congress have served in the military to have any understanding of what they are voting on. In fact, too few Americans have served in the military or some type of national service. Someone proposed a bill that would limit the president's ability to deploy troops for more than 90 days without a Declaration of War by Congress. Something like that bill deserves serious debate.

tfhr said...

I heard someone say that the only way a soldier can cast a vote in Illinois is to get buried there. Kind of funny...until I wonder how many times my father's absentee ballot was probably disregarded during his 32 years of service while a resident of Illinois.

I spent most of my military career overseas but sent my absentee ballots to Texas and Florida. There was never a close call that made me wonder about my own vote but now that I'm living in Maryland and no longer in the Army, I'm very concerned for the military personnel that call this state home but have little to no chance of having their absentee ballots counted.

"The U.S. District Court issued a ruling Thursday saying that the 'manner in which Maryland is conducting absentee voting for state offices in the Nov. 2, 2010, election deprives absent uniformed services and overseas voters of their fundamental right to vote.'"

This is a shameful state of affairs under any circumstances but when many Marylanders are deployed to locations where they are in imminent danger, the state needs to double or triple the effort to ensure that its citizens serving in the Armed Forces can exercise their right to vote. Meanwhile, back home, a voter does not have to show an ID when voting at the polls in Maryland.

Greenster said...

I am a Peace Corps volunteer, and firm supporter of Mark Kirk. I helped on his past campaigns and am sad to see he might be losing. Unfortunately, I never received my absentee ballot despite applying for it ages ago. I'm thinking being a registered Republican in Cook County didn't help my chances.