Dems finally ask for some clarification
As Kurt Allemeier reports in the D/A:
Democratic partisans are looking for guidance on interpreting Illinois election law regarding the replacement of U.S. Rep. Lane Evans on the November ballot.Let me get this straight. I thought Jacobs WAS a committeman. Does this mean that even though he lives in a precinct without a committeeman, he didn't bother to run for the position and now he expects to be appointed so he can vote?
Don Johnston and Mary Boland, co-chairs of the 17th Congressional District Democratic Central Committee, sent a letter Monday to Jesse Smart, president of the Illinois State Board of Elections.
"We are asking them to have an informal conference with our attorney," Mr. Johnston said of the letter to the board.
A nominee will be selected in balloting by precinct committeemen from within the district, which encompasses all or parts of 23 counties. The committeemen will have a number of votes equal to the number of Democratic ballots cast in their precinct in last month's primary.
One of the key issues in dispute since Rep. Evans announced after winning the primary that he would retire at the end of his term is whether only elected committeemen will be allowed to vote. As many as half the 721 precinct committeeman positions are vacant.
Mr. Johnston says election law allows only precinct committeemen elected in the primary to vote in the nominating process. Other party leaders say appointed committeemen also should be allowed to vote.
The dynamics of the race for the nomination could turn on the answer to that and other procedural questions.
State Sen. Mike Jacobs, D-East Moline, is taking another route looking for help.
Sen. Jacobs has contacted U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., for help on the matter and also has prepared a letter to Illinois Senate president Emil Jones asking him to seek a legal opinion on the process from the Illinois attorney general.
Sen. Jacobs is unable to request a written opinion from the attorney general, but Sen. Jones, D-Chicago, as an officer of the state Senate, has standing to make a request.
Sen. Jacobs said he would mail the letter later this week if Sen. Durbin is unable to help.
"I think we need some answers before we get too far down the road," Sen. Jacobs said. "We need some guidance."
Sen. Jacobs, who voted for Rep. Evans, is from a precinct without a committeeman.
"I think my vote would be disenfranchised," he said. "My vote should count."
At any rate, this is yet more evidence that the Dems are not exactly on the same page. Even in trying to settle differences, they end up creating more.
One faction is asking the State Board of Elections for an opinion, and then Jacobs, through Durbin and/or Jones, has decided to ignore that and take another route, through the State Attorney General, supposedly to avoid conflict and confusion in the process and to avoid protracted and damagine legal fights.
But in doing so, it now opens the door to the chance that there will STILL be differing opinions on the law, one from the Board of Elections, and another from the A/G or Durbin, thus ensuring exactly what they supposedly wish to avoid, a long, expensive, drawn out, and messy legal battle.
Nice work. Wouldn't you think that Jacobs and Johnston/Boland could get over it long enough to agree on a course of action? I guess that's just asking far too much.
As always, we've got one faction pulling on one end of the rope, and the other immediately grabbing the opposite end and pulling away. Guess after so long with a Democratic monopoly around here, they just felt they had to start fighting against themselves rather than the Republicans.
If the Dems ever hope to pull in the same direction, the faction that is always going against the grain needs to give it up and get with it.
NOTE: Thanks to a helpful commenter who sent in a list of current precinct committeemen and showing which precincts are vacant in Rock Island County. Of course, R.I. County is only a portion of the 17th District, but the list shows that nearly a third of Rock Island County precincts remain without a committeeman.
Of the 121 precincts in the county, fully 39 had no candidate in the last election.