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Category: Illinois (page 1 of 2)

Territorial Voting Rights: 7th Circuit Asked to Rule on Absentee Voting by U.S. Territory Residents

By: Stephen Fellows

In September 2017 the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit heard oral arguments for Segovia v. United States.   The Plaintiffs, a group of Illinois citizens residing in Puerto Rico, Guam, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, want the right to vote by absentee ballot in federal elections in Illinois.  They initially brought the case in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  The complaint stems from Illinois’ Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which implemented the Overseas Citizens Voting Rights Act (OCVRA) of 1975.  The federal Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) replaced the OCVRA in 1986. The UOCAVA guarantees the right to vote by absentee ballot in federal elections to Americans, both military and civilians, residing overseas.

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Illinois Residency Requirements Allow Elected Officials to Continue to Hold Public Office In Illinois, Even After Moving to Another State

By Patrick Sebastian

As a result of the residence requirements for public office in Illinois, it seems to be the case that a person could hold elected office in Illinois while living in another state. According to the Chicago Tribune, this came as a surprise to parents of Illinois’ Crete-Monee school district when concerned resident, Tammy Burnham, began asking questions about one of the school board members, Edward J. Anderson, Jr., and found out that his absence at recent school board meetings was due to the fact that he lived in Jacksonville, Florida. Records indicated that Anderson had filed for incorporation, listing himself as the corporation’s registered agent and listing his address as a Jacksonville apartment. Further, his house in Crete has been in foreclosure for months, and Burnham claims Anderson’s neighbors told her that Anderson indicated he did not plan to return. It appears based on the facts that Anderson has moved to Florida—but he remains on the school board in Crete, and he cannot be removed for having left.

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Potential Lawsuit Surrounding Illinois Districts Wherein More Registered Voters Exist Than Living Residents

By: Patrick Sebastian

There is a self-deprecating, old joke that is told from many an Illinois barstool: “Vote early and vote often.” The joke highlights the historic corruption in the Chicago and overall Illinois electoral process throughout the past centuries, particularly during the era of organized crime. The joke encourages citizens to get up early on Election Day and head to the polls to cast multiple ballots, probably using fraudulent registration. As is occasionally the case, this joke has once again proven to be painfully true in Illinois (and twenty other states), according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), which alleges that seventeen Illinois counties have more registered voters than living citizens.

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Campaign Contributions Playing Increasing Role in Illinois Judicial Elections

By Carl Zielinski

Although previously thought above the campaign tactics of the political branches, in recent years, judicial elections have become the most recent political dark money battleground. Judicial races are considered “low-information,” in that voters are often unfamiliar with specific candidates; advertisements against one of a judge’s past opinions could constitute all a potential voter knows about a given candidate.  In this way, a comparatively small amount of money can play a significant role in a judicial election. Continue reading

New Voting Measures in Illinois: Expansion of the Franchise or Partisan Power-Grab?

By Carl Zielinski

While states like Ohio have successfully restricted early voting access, in the past three months Illinois has significantly eased the process of both registering to vote and casting ballots. In late June, the largely Democratic Illinois state legislature pushed through a bill that expands early voting days and hours, allows early voting without photo ID, establishes same-day registration, allows voters to register online, and eases the eligibility of college students to vote in statewide elections. The newly implemented early voting period now starts fifteen days before any primary or general election and ends two days before Election Day. The lack of a photo ID requirement stands in stark contrast to voter ID laws like those recently implemented in states like Texas and Wisconsin. Continue reading

Illinois party leaders: Unlimited candidate contributions for me, but not for thee

by Tony Glosson

A recent lawsuit filed by Illinois-based Liberty Justice Center poses an interesting question for campaign finance law: Should legislators be allowed to exempt their own party committees and leaders from limitations placed on contributions to candidates? The complaint, filed on behalf of Illinois Liberty PAC and amended to include a private citizen, alleges that Illinois Public Act 96-832 “…treats Illinois Liberty PAC and other nonparty speakers differently from similarly situated political parties” and that “this disparate treatment burdens Illinois Liberty PAC’s First Amendment rights to free speech and equal protection guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment…” Continue reading

Mr. Colbert: or, How states might learn to love campaign finance reform

Its opponents deride its existence as a farce upon campaign finance law.  Its supporters suggest that it is the only way to set the system straight.  News of it has reached the public’s consciousness, rarified air for anything in the field of campaign finance. And we’re not even talking about Citizens United.

The Federal Election Commission’s recent decision permitting comedian Stephen Colbert to form his own Super PAC has successfully turned the media’s (and to a certain extent, the public’s) attention to the post-Citizens United world of political donations. Continue reading

Weekly Wrap Up

Emanuel got the green light for candidacy: Rahm Emanuel can run for Chicago mayor, after a unanimous decision by the Illinois Supreme Court. The Court found that he meets the residency requirements because he paid taxes and maintained a residence he planned to use as his permanent residence–even though he rented it out–in Chicago while working in the White House.

Every vote counts in Ohio: A three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on January 27 that ballots improperly cast because of errors by poll workers must be counted in the judicial election in Hamilton County. Although the exact number of ballots that must now be counted is unknown, Democrats claim it could be in the hundreds. Republican John Williams currently leads by 23 votes.

Is there a fight brewing over Fair Districts in Florida?: In one of his first acts as governor, Rick Scott withdrew the request to the Justice Department to approve the redistricting amendments passed by voters in November. The amendments are also currently being challenged in court in a lawsuit filed by two U.S. Representatives from Florida.

Hotspots: Key Post-Election Disputes in the States

Keep checking back here for links to the latest state midterm election results and recount coverage

LINKS BY STATE:

Alaska, Arizona, CaliforniaColorado, Connecticut, Illinois (Gubernatorial, House), Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri,New York, North Carolina, OregonTexas, VirginiaWashington

SENATE

Alaska

Joe Miller, the Republican candidate for Senate in Alaska, will probably require a hand recount of the write-in votes before he will concede the race.

Wednesday night, Democrat Scott McAdams conceded the race after only getting 23% of the vote.

Murkowski and Miller are preparing for the next round of ballot counting that will begin next week. Murkowski has set up a separate campaign account to support campaign efforts in the counting process.

Joe Miller is questioning the fairness of the process and has filed a lawsuit in federal court to prevent misspelled ballots being counted for Senator Lisa Murkowski.

The Associated Press reports that a federal court judge has denied Republican Joe Miller’s request for an injunction to stop the counting of incorrectly spelled write-in ballots.

Live coverage of the counting is being streamed online.

The Court has rejected Miller’s request to stop the recount.  The count now shows Murkowski with 98% of the initial write-in vote.

Joe Miller’s prospects for victory are getting slimmer, and the lawyers are starting to leave Alaska.

Alaska election officials have completed the fifth day of counting write-in ballots.  Senator Lisa Murkowski has retained 89% of write-in votes

With almost all votes counted, Senator Lisa Murkowski currently has an edge of over 2,000 votes over Republican Joe Miller.  Murkowski’s total does not include the over 10,000 challenged ballots.

As counting ends, Murkowski is heading back home and is expected to declare victory soon.  8,135 ballots have been challenged, but even if all of those ballots were thrown out by the Court, Murkowski would still be ahead by more than 2,000 votes.

With all but 700 write-in votes counted, Senator Lisa Murkowski has declared victory over Republican candidate Joe Miller.  The AP called the race for Murkowski Wednesday evening.

Joe Miller is asking a federal judge to stop election officials from certifying results declaring Murkowski the winner.  Murkowski leads by about 10,400 votes; Miller has challenged 8,153 of the ballots counted for Murkowski.

A federal judge has granted Joe Miller (R) a temporary injunction preventing election officials from naming Senator Lisa Murkowski the winner.  Miller filed his complaint on the grounds that the counting of misspelled ballots for Murkowski violates state law.  Miller will now bring the issue to state court.

Attorneys for the state of Alaska have asked a judge to decide the case over contested absentee ballots by next week.  The case will be heard Wednesday in state court in Juneau.  Senator Lisa Murkowski is seeking to intervene in the suit.  Her attorneys have said her seniority will be in jeopardy if she is not sworn in when the new Congress meets in January. Continue reading

Some will Win, Some will Lose, Some States are Born to Sing the Blues: The Coming Battle Over Reapportionment

The stakes are incredibly high, reapportionment is looming, and recent data from Election Data Services shows that neither Democrats nor Republicans will be too pleased come next year. States which have been recently labeled as ‘safe Republican’ in Presidential elections will gain seats, but in more Democratically inclined areas. States recently labeled as ‘safe Democrat’ in Presidential elections will lose some seats. The biggest gain will be in Texas. Texas can expect to gain four House seats, at least some of which will be placed in locations more favorable to Democratic candidates. Meanwhile, New York, a state typically labeled as ‘safe Democrat’ in Presidential elections, will likely lose two House seats. In terms of multi-district moves, Florida will likely gain two seats and Ohio will likely lose two seats. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah and Washington will all likely gain a seat while Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey and Pennsylvania will all likely lose a seat.

Reapportionment is becoming a problem not only for certain Presidential candidates but also state and federal candidates, especially candidates in the Midwest where rapid population flight is decimating the electoral landscape. The close electoral math is mapping onto reapportionment strategy. Democrats and Republicans are locked in a mortal struggle to gain control of state houses and governor’s mansions across the nation, in anticipation of being able to influence the composition of both state legislatures and Congress over the next decade. Continue reading

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