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|Absentee Ballots Okay to Distribute, Despite Constitutional Convention Question
|Election boards across Illinois are once again free to distribute absentee ballots, and a Cook County judge has opted not to order new ballots printed in the battle over a statewide constitutional convention question on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Cook County Judge Nathaniel Howse instead ordered official notices to be given statewide to each voter upon entry into a polling place, and that notices be posted in each voting booth, noting the change in wording to the ballot question that will ask voters whether they wish to call a state constitutional convention.
The matter must be put to the voters at least once every 20 years. The last such referendum coincided with the 1988 presidential election.
The new wording eliminates the results of the 1988 referendum from this year's ballot question, and drops wording on the counting of ballots that the judge considered "at best misleading."
But the issue may not be resolved. At least one of the plaintiffs who filed suit over the wording of the ballot question said he would "seriously consider" over the weekend whether to appeal the ruling. Convention advocate Bruno Behrend said he still believes that a paper ballot on a constitutional convention, given to voters as they enter polling places, is the only answer that guarantees an untainted vote. "He erred just now in kind of ruling in our favor on the merits but not on the remedy because the remedy was somehow too impossible, which we don't think was necessarily the case," Behrend said.
Howse accepted the view of election officials, who said that any attempt to reprint ballots or create a separate ballot now would result in "chaos" in the polling place. "While our solution was imperfect, it cured the problem, whereas this notice solution does not cure any problem at all," Behrend said.
Behrend conceded that ordering an additional paper ballot could cause some confusion and delay at polling places statewide.
Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn, who brought the suit with Berhend and the Chicago Bar Association, said he was inclined to accept the ruling, although he also said he would consider his options before a hearing at 11 a.m. Monday. "It (the ballot question) should be treated with great respect and dignity, and it's been anything but that in Illinois for the past several months," Quinn said. "Finally a judge had to step in with, I think, great heroism and he said we're not going to permit improper and impermissible language be on the ballot for the constitutional convention referendum."
(Source: Illinois Radio Network)
|10 05 08 by Newsroom
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