Peter G (sinetimore) wrote,
Peter G
sinetimore

Happy Homecoming

In today's Tribune, John Kass reported on a public discussion that was held during a budget committee meeting on October 20.  Meaning it was transcribed.  The two interesting people in the exchange are Langdon Neal and Ed Burke.  Langdon Neal is the city election chairman.  Burke needs no introduction for us Chicagoans, but for those who don't know, Burke is a survivor from old Boss Daley's political machine that his son unsuccessfully tried to force out.  He's alderman of the 14th ward, the dean of the City Council, and, along with Fast Eddie Vrdolyak (known collectively as "the Eddies"), led the Council Wars against Harold Washington.  Political power is consolidated between Illinois Dem head Mike Madigan and Daley.  But Burke knows how to throw elbows, surviving several attempts on his post and retaining some good clout.

Here's the relevant portion of this oddly specific discussion:

BURKE:  Tell me how the process now for purging voters, and how it's changed in recent years.

NEAL:  Well, we had a canvass this summer.

BURKE:  Now, that canvas, is it by mail?

NEAL:  It is by mail, and essentially works with an initial mailing that goes out to the home that is reflective of our voter registration records.  It is a non-forwardable piece of mail.  If it then comes back to us as 'undeliverable', we send out a second notice.  And if that comes back to us, the voter becomes what's called an inactive voter...We keep a separate inactive list on the poll sheets.  They can come in at any time to us at the Board Of Elections, or on Election Day, and get their full voting status back.

BURKE:  Well, if I do not send back my notice to the Board of Election Commissioners, I become inactive?

NEAL:  Correct.

BURKE:  What evidence do I have to produce to show I am indeed registered at that address?

NEAL:  Two pieces of ID.

Cut to later....

BURKE:  I don't have two pieces of evidence, I call you and I say, I want to be restored.  Is that possible under your procedures?

NEAL:  No.  No.  You have to --

BURKE:  So whoever has been rendered inactive must come in with two pieces of identification.  To whom do those identification pieces go?

NEAL:  The judges of election at the polling place.

BURKE:  What about the Board of Election Commissioners?

NEAL:  Certainly.  They can come to us at any time.

Cut to later....

BURKE:  If it was restored without producing two pieces of identification, is that a violation of your rules;  is it a violation of the law;  is it a violation of procedure?

NEAL:  It would be a violation of procedure, unless we -- unless there is some other reason that we restored the voter internally--

BURKE:  Well, you just told me they have to have two pieces of identification.

NEAL:  That's the procedure, correct.  That's the procedure.

BURKE:  So if it was done without the voter producing two pieces of identification, it would be a violation of procedure?

NEAL:  Yes, it would be a violation.

The subject is obviously Rahm Emanuel.  Since 1871, it has been an Illinois state law that, "A person is not eligible for an elected municipal office unless that person is a qualified elector of the municipality and has resided in the municipality at least one year next preceding the election or appointment."

Election lawyer Burt Odelson sees a problem with the election board saying Emanuel has been a Chicago resident and can run.  Rahm was living in Washington as Obama's chief of staff.  His kids went to school there.  He rented his Chicago home on North Hermitage Avenue out to Rob Halpin.  Despite being purged twice from voting rolls in the past 13 months, he was allowed to vote absentee in the February primaries using the Hermitage address that Halpin also used.  He was first purged in October 2009, but was switched to active just before Feb 2.  In May, Rahm was purged again.  He was reinstated just last month, using an address on Milwaukee Avenue.

So, Burke was giving everyone a hint about how to derail Emanuel.  Oh, did I mention that Burt Odelson is one of mayoral candidate James Meeks' advisers?  "Like God, I DON'T play dice and I DON'T believe in coincidence."

Emanuel is the only one who can derail Meeks' campaign.  Madigan doesn't want Emanuel, so you can bet he'll throw his behind-the-scenes muscle this way.  Burke?  Not only did he give everyone a map, but his wife is an Illinois Supreme Court justice.  Gee, I wonder how this is going to go?

Will it work?

I'm very curious to find out....
Tags: history, news, politics
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