May 27, 2006

A headache in the making.

Tacky at "Taking a Crack at It" reveals an interesting dilema facing Dem officials.
As in most things in life, this bugaboo is due to timing.

John Woods of Rock Island ran against Virgil Mayberry for a seat on the county board last go-round and lost the race.

But due to the fact that Woods is employed by the US Postal Service, he ran afoul of the Hatch Act which prohibits federal employees from running for office.

This lead to the Postal Service telling him he couldn't hold office as a precinct committteeman either, and so Woods resigned his position as South Rock Island 2 precinct committeeman.

Next in the chain of events, R.I. Chairman John Gianulis duly appointed a replacement for Woods.

I'll let Tacky take it from here:
Johnston said he has not received any notice from the county clerk and therefore, invited Woods to the meeting of committeemen in Galesburg. Where Mayberry and Gianulis were also present.

Gianulis, knowing Woods had resigned appointed a woman to replace him as committeeman. Johnston did not invite her.

Johnston depending on attorney Stuart Lefstien’s interpretation of the Illinois laws says appointed committeemen cannot vote in the selection process to replace Rep. Lane Evans.

Woods apparently has received ballots that are weighted for 71 votes, the number of people who voted in the Democratic primary. He needs to return them unfilled to Liebovitz.

Unless Gianulis’ appointment is approved, the 71 voters in Rock Island 2 will be disenfranchised. Can any of those voters sue for being left out of the equation?
By recognizing Gianulis’ appointment in one precinct, does Johnston open himself to recognizing all the other appointees?

What is the probability of Phil Hare or Sen. John Sullivan losing by 71 votes? If one of them does, will it result in a lawsuit?
Well, guess no one has repealed Murphy's Law.

How interesting that a situation crops up which again raises a contentious issue which had been assumed to be settled, with great relief.

Now a decision as to whether an appointed committeeman will be allowed to vote is again up for grabs.

My take? Somehow, it should be finessed so that Wood's replacement is able to vote Wood's share of votes. The reasoning being that this situation is separate and distinct from the issue of precincts with no committeeman prior to the primary being filled by appointees.

Woods was elected in the last primary, and, in an almost perverse twist of fate, John G. now needs to appoint a successor to an officeholder who can no longer serve.

With any luck, a law or other opinion might be given which gives some guidance as to the correct course on this odd case.


At 5/28/2006 12:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Johnston "opens himself up" as Tacky puts it, if he accepts a ballot from an appointed committeman. He's been so black and white on appointed v. elected committeemen and it's the heart of his legal argument.

He can't cross that line in my opinion, but that won't prevent someone in that precinct from going high and right if the votes from that precinct aren't counted.

Another whole legal question: If the law says that committeemen elected in the primary can vote, could Woods, even after resigning, still cast a ballot? My point is that wording of the statute indicates that the primary election is the moment in time that matters for the committeman's status, regardless of the subsequent resignation and the violation of the Hatch Act.

That pesky Hatch Act! Even the mailman is subject to it!

At 5/28/2006 12:13 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

As usual Huck, you've cut to the heart of the matter. This is a very interesting situation for precisely the reasons you list.

And the question of whether Woods still qualifies to vote due to his haveing been elected in the primary is especially interesting.

It's this sort of hair-splitting that lawyers were made for. There are many interesting questions that this poses, and the stakes are fairly high, as the result could have larger ramifications.

It should be very interesting to watch and see how it is resolved.

Any legal types (or others) care to venture an opinion on how it will be settled?

At 5/28/2006 3:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's some good info on the Hatch Act

At 5/28/2006 3:44 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

While we're pondering legal technicalities, aren't all legislators by definition government employees?

Should it be against the law for them to run for or hold office too?

Just sayin'. Might be an idea who's time has come. The Hatch Act might end up coming in real handy.

At 5/28/2006 9:28 PM, Blogger Anon 10:32 said...

Give John G. this committeeman. It is a special circumstance. It is the right thing to do.

At 5/29/2006 7:01 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

That's right Dope, you are onto something here. Phil Hare is a federal govt. employee. So if he plans on running for Congress, shouldn't he have to resign his current position?

At 5/30/2006 2:42 PM, Blogger DookOfURL said...

anon@10:32: Don't you suppose that if Johnston gave Gianulis this "one" committeeman, that all the other selected not elected committeeman would claim "special circumstance" too?

Of course they would. We love the local Democrats because not only do they pull dirty tricks on Republicans, they pull dirty tricks on their own.

It makes me so proud.


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