April 19, 2006

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.

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."
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?

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.


At 4/19/2006 8:00 PM, Anonymous ontarget said...

I am shocked to read you want to disanfranchise voters who voted for Lane Evans two weeks ago, simply because they don't have a precinct committeeperson repressnting them today. I suppose you do not care vacant precint spots are genera;;y located in minority communities. Do you really favor a system that allows old white guys to name the next congressman?

In this race, Johnston and M. Boland are ethically conflicted. Don wants to be M. Boland chief=of-staff. M. Boland is Mike Boland's wife (one of the candiates for congress and state rep.) On the other hand, Sen. Mike Jacobs doesn't have a "dog in the fight." His interest is to win in the fall and keep inter-party squabbles to a minnimum!

Mike's leadership skills are needed now more than ever.

Thankfully this young leader with a bright politcal future has the wisdom and foresight to move this question where it belongs. Into the hands of Illinois highest rankig law enforcement offical --- Attorney General Lisa Madigan.

Thanks heavens for Mike Jacobs!

At 4/19/2006 9:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 4/19/2006 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sen. Mike Jacobs is not and has never been a precinct committeeman. what on earth made you say that. You should retract that nonsence from your litte story. Sen. Mike Jacobs stepped out of the favorite position for the good of the party after Evans endorsed Hare. Then he tries to get clarification on these issues and you are busting the guys chopps. He is the only person that has placed the party ahead of himself. He was John G.'s guy and who John G is with wins. John G. won his reelection tonight in unanimous fashion. This lets you know what is comming. You are a vindictive manipulative man. Try and stop yourself from these tiresome attacks in the future.

At 4/19/2006 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes, Jacobs is to be congratulated for takingacrackatit. I wish the good Sen. well on his endevour. It's nice see him interested in moving this process forward.

At 4/20/2006 7:45 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 21:56.

I said I "thought" Jacobs was a precinct committeeman. Why I said that is that I was both told that as well as his being seen at meetings for precinct committeemen and being called out as a precinct committeeman.

The rest of your post is simply reciting history, though I'd ask you to point out where I'm "busting the guy's chops".

I simply point out what's actually happened and what the possible consequences are. If you think that's "busting someone's chops" then I can't help it.

At 4/20/2006 9:36 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

To the commenter who thought I must not be getting much traffic,

I get TONS, and you help. Thanks!

At 4/20/2006 2:52 PM, Anonymous puzzler said...

Is Phil Hare a precinct committeeman?

At 4/20/2006 9:04 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Yes, Hare is a precinct committeeman. In South Rock Island 11.

A helpful reader sent in a list of precincts and their committeemen as well as showing those which are vacant. Unfortunately for space reasons I chose not to put it up. I believe it's available at another site and I'll let you know specifically when I find it again.

At 4/22/2006 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sen. Jacobs sent his letter to General Madgian on Friday. This letter should help determine the course of actions Democrats can rely upon. Right now Don Johnston and M. Boland are trying to do everything in their power to appoint M. Boland's husband, Mike Boland. Wouldn't it make more sense to do it right!

Three cheers for Big Mike Jacobs!


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