May 4, 2006

The Statute of Liberty

You may have already read this at John Beydler's "The Passing Parade", but it's an interesting bit of info regarding the potentially explosive debate over whether appointed, selected precinct committeemen should or will be allowed to vote for Lane Evans' replacement on the general election ballot.

Beydler cites, apparently via Don Johnston, a section of code which would appear to indicate that only elected committeemen are eligible to vote in this process.
"In the organization and proceedings of congressional committees composed of precinct committeemen or township committeemen or ward committeemen, or any combination thereof, each precinct committeeman shall have one vote for each ballot voted in his precinct by the primary electors of his party at the primary at which he was elected ...''
-- Article 7, Sec. 7-8, Paragraph (e) Illinois Election Code (emphasis added)

But a commenter to Beydler's post cites yet another passage of code which they argue indicates that the unelected should be able to cast votes, votes which, at least in Rock Island county, are strictly according to who county chair John Gianulis tells them to vote for, namely Phil Hare.
(10 ILCS 5/7‑9)(from Ch. 46, par. 7-9)
(i) Except as otherwise provided in this Act, whenever a vacancy exists in the office of precinct committeeman because no one was elected to that office or because the precinct committeeman ceases to reside in the precinct or for any other reason, the chairman of the county central committee of the appropriate political party may fill the vacancy in such office by appointment of a qualified resident of the county and the appointed precinct committeeman shall serve as though elected

Of course, we don't have the full section of law to put things in context, but from those two citations, what do you think to be the case?

Yet another comment notes that the section of the last passage noting that a committeeman slot can become vacant because the committeeman no longer resides in the precinct (37 of the 41 appointed committeemen in R.I.County don't even live in the precinct they've been appointed to represent) would indicate that those who don't reside in the precinct are ineligible to vote.

It seems to me that the first section of code should have precedence over the second, but the arguments could go on until the sun goes dark, and likely will.

Beydler also lays out the folly of those who argue that not allowing appointed committeemen to vote is somehow "disenfranchising" those who live in precincts without an elected committeeman.

If the appointed committeemen are, as freely admitted by John G., all people who are pledged to vote as he wants them to, then how is inserting them into vacant precincts, in which many of the appointees don't even live, considered to be "enfranchising" the residents of those precincts? The argument makes no sense, really. It's only enfranchising John Gianulis.

If John G. wishes to try this approach in order to ensure he bigfoots the process and ensures that his guy, Phil Hare, gets selected, then that's his right, of course. There's nothing remotely illegal about appointing committeemen, and if you're in favor of things going this way, that's perfectly fine.

But it's silly for those who favor giving John G. this extra power to try to hide behind some phony baloney concern over "disenfranchising" voters. The right to vote is truly a sacred thing. Plugging in placeholders for John G./Phil Hare votes essentially disenfranchises residents. To argue in favor of that under the guise of fighting for those same resident's right to have their voices heard is disingenuous and well, phony. (In my oh-so-humble opinion.)

27 Comments:

At 5/04/2006 1:00 PM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

As a former precinct committeman, an unpaid thankless position I might add, I vote for inclusiveness - so all committeement may vote elected or appointed.

We are Democrats and anything that excludes persons from the process and their voice in the matter is against everything I stand for as a loyal Democrat! Let all precincts be heard. Don Johnston should get over himself and stop letting his hatred of certain people taint the process.

He is not my spokesman by any means!

 
At 5/04/2006 1:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry, but aren't you completely ignoring the fact that appointed committeemen, at least in Rock Island County and likely the rest, ARE NOT free to vote however their "consituents" (not really, since many don't even live in the precinct they now supposedly "represent") wish?

How can you just casually ignore the fact that appointed committeemen are NOT independent and provide no more representation for the people who live in the precinct than if they had NO committeeman at all?

Amazing how people can wear such super-sized blinders sometimes.

 
At 5/04/2006 1:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

(10 ILCS 5/25‑2)
Sec. 25‑2. Events on which an elective office becomes vacant. Every elective office shall become vacant on the happening of any of the following events before the expiration of the term of such office:
(1) The death of the incumbent.
(2) His or her resignation.
(3) His or her becoming a person under legal disability.

(10 ILCS 5/25-7)
Sec. 25-7. When any vacancy shall occur in the office of representative in congress from this state more than 180 days before the next general election, the Governor shall issue a writ of election within 5 days after the occurrence of that vacancy to the county clerks of the several counties in the district where the vacancy exists, appointing a day within 115 days to hold a special election to fill such vacancy.

Of course, Evans can resign before May 10, 2006. The primary would take place before the August 31, 2006 deadline for Committeemen to replace him on the ballot for November.

 
At 5/04/2006 3:27 PM, Anonymous paladin said...

I see lawyers....

 
At 5/04/2006 4:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

many lawyers padin

 
At 5/04/2006 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dope forgot the key fact that other county chairmen have appointed as well. For instance, Adams County appointed so they can vote for John Sullivan.

 
At 5/04/2006 5:07 PM, Anonymous Ron said...

Why isn't that Jeremy kid who worked for Lane supporting Mike Boland. Rep. Boland gave him a full ride to law school. Unbelievable he is endorsing someone else. This kids has a congressman who paid his wages, a state rep who paid for his free fancy education and then he goes for an outsider. I know that Hare has Lane's endorsement so I guess thats a slap too. But especially to Boland.

 
At 5/04/2006 6:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if Lane resigned or the Governor declared a vacancy before May 10th and we had a special election to fill out a portion of his term the congressional committee would still have to meet and nominate a candidate for the November election. We could have two campaigns running at the same time!

 
At 5/04/2006 6:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man you folks miss the point. John G isn't the only county chair appointing -- 22 other county chairs likely have and they all support different candidates. So allowing the new precinct folks a voice in the process, rather than disenfranchising them, means that Sullivan, Boland, Schwiebert, Stockwell, Hare all will get extra votes. What that ensures is that there is no disenfranchisement.

 
At 5/04/2006 8:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

many many lawyers especially if John G. doesn't get his way. Then again he might just throw a tantrum and take his ball home with him.

 
At 5/04/2006 8:35 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 16:55,

I didn't forget that other county chairs will likely appoint committeemen, but you're correct in that I didn't specifically mention that fact.

But to you and especially Anon 18:36, I still fail to see how you think having appointed CM (saves typing committeemen every time)somehow "enfranchises" the residents of that precinct.

OK. Let's say I'm a person who lives in a precinct which didn't have a CM elected.

It doesn't matter if I'm in R.I. county, Adams, or any other county in the district. It could be ANYWHERE.

The county chair for my county appoints a CM which they know is going to vote as they are told.

Now you're trying to tell me that I'm "enfranchised" because of this?

Get REAL!

I don't care if the county chair tells his plug-ins to vote for Sullivan, Hare, or the Man-in-the-moon. It still doesn't "enfranchise" those residents in precincts with an appointed CM!

I'm this same person living in a precinct without any precinct CM.

I'm disenfranchised. I don't get a say in who I'd prefer.

Now I'm the same person living in a precinct where someone that doesn't even live here has been appointed by my county chair (which county? Doesn't matter... take your pick.)as precinct CM.

I'm STILL disenfranchised because the fix is in. The die is cast. What I think or prefer, my voice in the process, is worthless. Doesn't matter what I think, the CMs vote is already in the bag.

I'm still just as "disenfranchised" as I ever was because MY VOICE DOESN'T COUNT.

Simply appointing a CM who's already pledged to vote for someone doesn't "enfranchise" anyone.

What is so hard to understand about this? Why are people so willfully bilnd to this fact?

 
At 5/04/2006 9:36 PM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

I have to agree wtih the Dope here. Appointing a candidate who is already committing to voting a certain way is not in any way "enfranchsiing."

If voters in those precincts want to avoid so-called disenfranchisement, elect a precinct committeeman so that they are available when situations like this arise.

During filing time in December of 2007, go to the county clerks office and find out who has filed in your precinct. If nobody has, take a petition, sign it, get nine (9) others to do the same, and you are guaranteed a say in any matter in front of precinct committeemen.

Those precincts were "disenfranchised" last December, and nobody complained until now, because "oh my gosh! now it actually matters who the precinct committeeman is!"

If people took the position seriously, there would be no disenfranchisment.

This may come across as an agnry post, but I am only trying to convey common sense.

 
At 5/04/2006 10:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you're so worried about being disenfranchised you should have become active in the party and ran for committeman. There is not going to be a special primary election. This is now a party matter; get over it!

 
At 5/04/2006 10:41 PM, Anonymous let em all vote said...

The point is that it's the law that establishes who gets to vote, not Don Johnston and Mary Boland. The law says that precinct committeeman vote. The law says that county chairmen can appoint precinct committeeman to serve as though they are elected. What is stupid about this whole thing is that if the boundaries of the 17th District were drawn "coterminous" with the county lines, then the 23 county chairmen would meet and cast the full weighted vote of their county no matter how many precinct committeemen were elected or appointed.

How come just because Denny Hastert drew the boundaries to protect himself, LaHood and Weller that all of a sudden each county should lose their representation? Fulton county only elected 15/65 committeeman and will lose over 4000 votes if their appointed committeeman are illegally excluded from the process. Fulton County alone will appoint enough committeeman to offset those appointed in Rock Island County.

Allowing all precinct committeeman to participate is not just what the law requires, it ensures that each counties voters are fully represented.

By the way, the county chairman of each county was elected by a weighted vote of each county's committeeman who were also elected. Only the county chairman can appoint committeeman to fill precincts where noone stepped up to represent their area. Being a precinct committeeman, if done right is a big, thankless job, but essential to the success of our party. These decisions should be made by elected committeemen, but that includes the elected county chairman exercising his rights within the law. John G. advised every county chairman to fill his vacancies to make sure their county's full weighted vote would get to participate in this process.

This is Democracy working at its best and if anyone doesn't like the process, then they can run for committeeman and elect a new county chairman in two years. All you need is 10 signatures on a petition. If it had been up to a vote of only the County Chairman, then Rock Island would have cast their 30% of the weighted votes for John G's candidate and we would have a winner and go home. Instead we have an opportunity for candidates and constituents to contact committeemen and make their voices heard, a much better scenario than giving ALL of the votes to the county chairman.

 
At 5/05/2006 8:41 AM, Blogger UMRBlog said...

If this repeats something I wrote in another thread, I'm sorry. It is however topical now.

The first provision TID cited is the "general" description of the rights and duties of a pc. The second provision is a "specific" provision describing what happens when the CC appoints a pc. The Rule of Statutory Construction in construing legislation is, where a general provision contradicts a specific provision, the specific controls the general.

There is also a third provision that prohibits the appointment of pc between the time the Primary election takes place and the County convention (about a month, now over). There is no other limitation on appointment.

Without regard to who it helps or hurts and without regard to whether any of this is dirty or not, a very simple legal analysis is that appointive pc should be allowed to vote. That is not a policy analyis. It's a simple reading using established principles of statutory construction.

Yeah, in my other life, I am an election authority's attorney.

 
At 5/05/2006 8:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is great that leader Jonhston and Madam M. Boland are not letting people vote. Leadership is better prepared than the people to pick our voice in congress.

I tip my hat to those who seek to exclude pesky voters!

 
At 5/05/2006 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree that the "enfranchising" argument is a little weak at this particular time and situation. Never the less, appointed Precinct Committeemen have full authority under the law and always have. It's never been argued otherwise before.

 
At 5/05/2006 10:08 AM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

By allowing appointed committeemen to vote does nothing for representing those empty precincts. What it does is give the precinct where the County Chair lives an "overenfranchisement" (not a word, i'm sure, but it gets the point across) For every committeeman appointed by the chairman, the precinct he was elected from gets more votes in the process, as the new committeeman will be pledged to vote as the chair wants.

This can't be the proper solution. Committeemen took the time to get the petition signed and to be elected. I think it is a far worse punch to democracy by effectively weakening their votes in the process by allowing appointed committeemen to vote. Doing so could likely discourage people from running in the future. What good is it to run for the position when you can be appointed and have the same say? On the other hand, only allowing elected committeemen to vote may encourage others next time around to make sure their precint is represetned. That is a GOOD THING.

As for the law that iss frequently referenced.

After a primary, the vacant spots can be filled by the current (outgoing)county chair. At the first county cental committee meeting, the precinct committeemen elect a chair. In this election, ONLY elected committeemen are allowed to vote, not appointed committeemen. The law says act "as elected" but it does not refer to voting. It means they can serve as deputy registrars, select a pollwatcher, etc.

 
At 5/05/2006 4:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The terms of all committeemen come to an end on the date of the primary.

There are no committeemen until approximately a week before the county convention when the county clerks certify the primary results and distribute certificates to the newly elected committeemen.

The officers, such as county chairmen, treasurer, etc. continue in office until replaced at the county convention. Most of them, of course, are re-elected.

Between the primary and the county convention no committeemen can be appointed.

The new county chairman can start appointing committeemen to vacant precints the day after the county convention.

 
At 5/06/2006 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes. Fewer, not more people should be allowed to participate in selecting our next congressman. The last thing our party needs is "green horns" putting on party hats and voting. We much prefer the elected committeemen that we hand picked over the years to those being pushed forward now.

Evans, Gianulis and Jacobs have the votes. Let's vote them now!

the sooner the better. We have the votes as is. Let's vote 'um!

 
At 5/06/2006 1:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

highxlr8r, you have it all wrong. There are no Appointed Precinct Committeemen at the organizational meeting of the Central Committee as none can be appointed until the day after. If the Chairman or any officers position comes open later on, the Appointed Precinct Committeemen may vote to elect officers at that time. As far as your comments about Appointed Precinct Committeemen being only able to "serve as deputy registrars, select a pollwatcher, etc.". you are just making things up. There is no such reference in the law. The law applies not what any individual commenter dreams up.

 
At 5/06/2006 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You say it is silly for me to want my vote to be counted. I don't have a pricicnt committeman and if I don't get one my vote will be for nothing. Lane Evans is the only candidate I voted for and I need Representation. You politics as usual would think it weak for mew to think that I should be represented.

 
At 5/06/2006 1:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your vote will be for nothing IF you have an appointed committeman. It's not YOUR vote, it's John G's and the rest or any of the other county chair's.
You really should get that through your head and admit it.

Quit playing make believe.

 
At 5/07/2006 12:01 AM, Blogger highxlr8r said...

I apologize if I was wrong about the process for appointing committeemen. It was my impression that vacant slots could be filled before the convention, and were then prevented from voting. The reference to other duties was not from the law, but as my impression was that apointees could not vote, I listed a few duties and responsibilities that committeemen typically perform. Again, I apologize for the error.

However, I would appreciate it my motives weren't challenged. I was not simply "making things up." I do my best to not criticize commenters personally or criticize their motives, and only put forward the best information I have along with my opinion.

If there is no civility, there is nothing gained in any of these discussions. Let's try to keep that in mind.

 
At 5/07/2006 10:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want my pricinct committeman to vote for me regardless of who they have to vote for. Otherwise my vote will not count. I want my appointed committeeman.

 
At 5/07/2006 10:34 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

The above wins the "shortest, most utterly illogical comment ever in the history of the universe" prize. Congratulations!!!

Ponder it's impenatrable wonder....

"I want my precinct committeeman to vote FOR ME, regardless of WHO THEY HAVE TO VOTE FOR."

It's almost zen-like in it's perfect lack of sense.

Translation: I couldn't care less about people being represented. I just want John G. and other county chairs to have way more votes than anyone else and far, far more influence than the spirit of the statute intends.

Shorter version: I want Phil Hare to be appointed, damn it!!!

 
At 5/08/2006 6:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is wrong with that? Democrats trust and love Chairman Gianulis. Why in the world would we not trust him to pick the best person to serve us. Afterall, he's been doing just that for thrity years.

First Dorthy Craig, then Pat Verschoore and now Conmgressman Phil Hare. It seems that he understands our area very well!

 

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