May 10, 2006

Lefstein: Only elected committeemen may vote

As just reported on John Beydler's "The Passing Parade", Rock Island attorney Stuart Lefstein has just issued an opinion on the divisive issue of whether committeemen appointed to their spots after the primary can participate in the vote to select a replacement for Lane Evans.

Lefstein writes that only ELECTED committeemen can vote, and as well, they can divide their weighted vote among candidates if they wish.

The full text of the opinion can be read here.


At 5/10/2006 6:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice to see that the Republican firm run by Pappas doesn't think my vote should count.

It looks like Johnston got what he paid for. I wonder what it cost and who actually paid for it? Are there any fgood reporters left?

Where are you jbc? Are you going to let these folks spoon feed you?

At 5/10/2006 6:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lefstien was paid by who? You are so niave.

At 5/10/2006 8:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unfortunately this opinion was written after the answer had been determined by Don Johnston and Mrs. Mike Boland. Did anyone doubt that the legal opinion purchased by Don and Mary would "support" their previously announced statement and process. This is not an unbiased third party opinion like we would have gotten from the State Board of Elections or the Attorney General. Look for an alternative opinion to be published in the near future.

If you follow the logic and make everything consistent you would conclude that if a "qualified" resident of the county, which in Lefstein's opinion means that they must live in the precinct, is appointed to represent their precinct, that those duly appointed committeemen should be allowed to vote. All of the other arguments simply repeat the contention that anyone appointed from outside the precinct has not been legally appointed and THAT is why they should not participate.

As always there is middle ground where neither side was completely right. Now it is up to the Committee to decide what is appropriate and to vote on the process for counting the votes. The right thing to do is for Johnston and Boland to compromise and try to follow the intent and letter of the law. Appointed Committeemen who live in the precinct and were appointed prior to the vacancy becoming official should be allowed to participate and vote. Their precinct IS disenfranchised by excluding their votes. That is NOT democracy. It just makes makes sense. How come nobody ever argued before yesterday that these appointments were not even valid or legal, just that they shouldn't be allowed to vote. Is it because they were accepted by the County Clerk without question because it was a long standing practice? Is it because county chairman have relied upon a prior erroneous legal opinion providing for the appointment of any county resident and it has never been challenged?

This process needs to be conducted in accordance with the law and the process should be reviewed by the State Board of Elections to make sure the law was followed after the vote is taken, no matter what happens in the interim.

At 5/10/2006 9:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get out of your drunken stuper and get to work. Lane Evans will be elected when the precinct committeepeople vote.

At 5/10/2006 9:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The readers here aren't in a "drunken stuper" and for an illiterate, I'd suggest you show a little more respect.

At 5/10/2006 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Phil Hare, Quit sending me letters from people who ar not involved or who I don't care about! What is that 20 you've sent now? Your not ELECTABLE! I am an ELECTED committeeman and my votes are going to Sullivan!

At 5/10/2006 10:31 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I doubt Phil Hare realizes the depths of your passion for Sullivan.

Sending mailings is a pretty standard, legitimate, and really not very intrusive method of campaigning, though a blizzard of mailings can certainly be annoying.

This is not pro or anti-Hare - it wouldn't matter who the subject of your comment was.

But I suggest that you learn to cope with the agony of getting mail out of your mail box which you're not interested in and depositing them in the trash.

I think it's kind of a part of everyday life for all of us, isn't

At 5/11/2006 7:11 AM, Blogger diehard said...

Who died and made Lefstein in charge?
This was a job for Attorney General Lisa Madigan.
And she was to lazy to get off her butt and do it!

At 5/11/2006 8:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I understand your point but most elected committeemen have made up our minds by now. A letter from some 83 yr old Dem. that we don't know surely is not going to change our minds. Hare continues to send this garbage which inturn fills up our local landfills and I thought he was the true liberal in this race.

At 5/11/2006 12:34 PM, Anonymous scattered said...

Mr. Boland, where have you been and where the heck are you going? You’ve been elected as state representative, but over the past 12 months or so, you’ve outwardly lobbied for a state senate seat, told Chicago media last summer you were going to run for Illinois state treasurer and now you lobby to be a candidate for U.S. Congress in the 17th District

At 5/11/2006 4:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The above is true - probably why he ended up where he did on the Argus noospaper's endorsement for the 17th.

At 5/11/2006 5:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last 12 months? Boland the Great has been using his taxpayer funded office for the last 11 years to campaign for something else. It just took all this time for that something to become available.

At 5/12/2006 11:57 AM, Anonymous True Observer said...


1. Can a person be appointed Precint Committeeman to a Precint in which he does not reside?

The Appointment statute states: “…the Chairman…may fill the vacancy by appointment of a qualified resident of the county…”

The obvious question is: why did the law not say “a qualified resident of the precint”?

The answer is because he doesn’t have to be.

2. Mr. Lefstein makes the argument that the provision which states “whenever a vacancy exists in the office of precint committeeman because …the precint committeeman ceases to reside in the precint…” mandates that precint committeemen must be residents of the precint.

This language does not argue anything of the kind. It just makes clear that once you are elected and you move out of your precint, then the County Chairman decides who will represent the precint.

3. Mr. Lefstein picks up on the “Except as otherwise provided in this act,…” part of the appointment statute to argue that this language would have no meaning unless it applied to (exclude appointed committeemen from) the composition of the Congressional Committee. He further states that it has to apply here because there is no other place where it applies (footnote 6).

Unfortunately for Mr. Lefstein, there is a place it applies.

10 ILCS 5/7-8 (last para)reads: “Notwithstanding any law to the contrary, a person is ineligible to hold the position of committeeperson in any committee established pursuant to this Section if he or she is statutorily ineligible to vote in a general election because of conviction of a felony. When a committeeperson is convicted of a felony, the position occupied by that committeeperson shall automatically become vacant.”

Surely exception language should be spelled out and not implied. So, why wasn’t it spelled out in the compositon of Congressional Committee language.

The obvious answer is that it wasn’t implied and there is no reason why it should be implied.

4. There is no dispute that the Congressional Committee is composed of the precint committeemen in the Congressional District.

The question is which precint committeemen?

Mr. Lefstein argues that it’s the elected precint committeemen. In support of his argument he picks up on the following language: “the precint committeemen…representing the precints shall comprise the committee.” He further states that this language states that precint committeemen “represent” the precints. He further states that this implies a representation of the voters of the precints who elected them.

The answer to Mr. Lefstein’s argument is that he completely misreads the language. It should be read as stating: “the precint committeemen…“representing the precints” shall comprise the committee”. In simpler language: “the precint committeemen…(from) the precints shall comprise the committee.”

Another obvious rebuttal to Mr. Lefstein’s interpretation is that in a sense every officeholder represents his district whether elected or appointed. Why would an appointed precint committeeman not represent his precint?

5. Mr. Lefstein attempts to distinguish the following two phrases to conclude that the Congressional Committee must be composed of elected committeemen:

“each precint committeeman shall have one vote for each ballot voted in his precint …at the primary at which he was elected…”

“each precint committeeman shall have one vote for each ballot voted in his precint…at the primary election immediately preceding the meeting of the judicial subcircuit committee…”

Mr. Lefstein’s position is that because the judicial subciruit language omits “at the primary at which he was elected” it authorizes voting by appointed committeemen whereas the language for the Congressional committee does not.


He seems to think that the primary for the judicial subciruit committee and the congressional committee would always be the same. THIS IS NOT SO.

If Lane Evans had resigned his current seat, that runs through January 2, 2007, there would have been a Democratic Primary for a Special Election in the 17th District to fill the vacancy for the balance of the term. This primary would have occurred after the March primary for the November election. In other words, at the time the Congressional Committee met to slate a candidate for the November ballot, the 17th District Democrats would have had a second primary after the March primary.
So it appears that the drafter of the language took this into account to insure that the voting strength of the precint committeemen would be based on the general primary election and not the special primary election.

6. Mr. Lefstein cited a number of provisions of the Election Code. However, he neglected to cite the one that applies.

For some unknown reason Mr. Lefstein did not cite the provision of the statute which addresses the actual making of the appointment. That provision is as follows:

(10 ILCS 5/7-61) In the proceedings to nominate a candidate to fill a vacancy or to fill a vacancy in the nomination, each precinct, township, ward, county or congressional district, as the case may be, shall through its representative on such central or managing committee, be entitled to one vote for each ballot voted in such precinct, township, ward, county or congressional district, as the case may be, by the primary electors of its party at the primary election immediately preceding the meeting at which such vacancy is to be filled.

The most striking thing about this language is the emphasis attached to the entitlement of precints to cast their votes through their representatives. There is no mention here of elected or appointed representative. Vacancies for ward committeemen, township committeemen, county chairmen and state central committeemen are filled all the time. What makes the filling of a vacancy for precint committeeman so special? Nothing.


1. County Chairmen can appoint non-resident precint committeemen provided they are residents of the County.

2. Elected and appointed precint committeemen are members of the Congressional Committee.

3. It is unlawful to exclude the appointed committeemen from all proceedings of the Congressional Committee.


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