Thursday, February 28, 2013

Orr’s Policies Rejecting Live Voters Hurts 2nd District

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Orr’s Policies Rejecting Live Voters Hurts 2nd District By RAY HANANIA • Friday, March 01, 2013 Southwest News-Herald

Nowhere has Cook County Clerk David Orr’s policies on absentee balloting been more harmful than in the 2nd Congressional District, where voters Tuesday went to the polls to elect a successor to disgraced former Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr.

Many voters voted early. They could do it two ways. The first is through “Absentee balloting,” one of the most corrupt susceptible voting options in the country. The second is through Early Voting.

You no longer need an excuse to vote Absentee Ballot. You can do it out of convenience.

I had a chance to ask Orr about that process, noting that what if a voter walks into a polling place and is told they already voted by Absentee Ballot.

He said that even if the voter claims the absentee ballot is fraudulent, if the signature matches, according to Orr, he will accept the piece of paper rather than the vote of a live person who walks into the poll. Basically, he said the process is more important than the people.

Several members of the Illinois Legislature are now looking at bills to eliminate Orr’s office and make it an appointed, administrative position rather than an elected post that can be exploited by political partisanship.

In the 2nd Congressional District race, Orr’s policies will impact those early and absentee voters who cast ballots for state Sen. Toi Hutchinson. Hutchinson dropped out 10 days before the election. So many people have been in and out of the race that for many early and absentee voters who voted in the weeks before the election Feb. 26, their votes may not even count.

I’ve known David Orr since he was first elected in the 49th Ward as a Chicago alderman, the same year Jane Byrne upset the Machine and defeated Michael A. Bilandic.

Orr was an anti-Machine “Democrat” back then, screaming about Machine injustice and the unfairness of the system.

The David Orr who ran for office in 1979 would be the first person today to support a bill to eliminate the Clerk’s office, in Cook County, which has been plagued by corruption for years.

There are some good elected officials in Cook County but there are just as many who abuse the system, play favorites, including in the county’s judicial system where, today, many of Orr’s political allies sit and make partisan political decisions against enemies of their political friends.

The current system stinks. But what really stinks is that a once self-proclaimed “reformer” is in charge of a system that today promotes corruption and voter fraud, not stops it.

Something needs to be done. Why shouldn’t the Cook County Clerk’s office be like the Chicago Election board, which consists of party representatives from both sides who are appointed to office and answer to higher authorities, not to their own selfish politics.

I can’t believe that today, I would say that the Chicago Election Board is probably the most honest election system in the state and that the county system is the one mostly likely to produce voter fraud. How politics has changed.

The anti-Machine activists have become the new Machine. And they are worse than the old Machine because the new Machine members are hypocrites.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and political consultant. You may reach him at com. Share your thoughts by visiting his Facebook page at — City & Suburban News-Herald

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sandoval and Tobolski call for Orr’s Recusal from Cicero Elections

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Sandoval and Tobolski call for Orr’s Recusal from Cicero Elections

Cicero, Illinois – State Senator Martin Sandoval, joined by 16th District Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski, today called on Cook County Clerk David Orr to immediately recuse himself from the Cicero elections charging that Orr has openly taken a partisan political position in an election in which he is supposed to be objective and non-partisan.

Sandoval said he sent a letter urging Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, the chief law enforcement officer on election day, to order David Orr to immediately recuse himself for conflict of interest due to his political bias in the Cicero elections due.

Sandoval charged that Orr has played a political and partisan role in the municipal elections in the Town of Cicero, aiding and supporting his political allies, candidate Juan Ochoa and his endorsed cohorts including Chicago Alderman Ricardo Munoz, Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia and U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez. Sandoval charged that Orr has donated thousands of dollars to candidates actively involved in the Ochoa campaign, which creates a direct conflict of interest. Additional instances of bias include David Orr’s physical appearance at rallies with Ochoa and his supporters (which included convicted felon and former Cicero President Betty Loren-Maltese).

Sandoval, who is Vice Chairman of the Illinois Senate Committee on Local Government, said he will call for public hearings to examine Orr’s conduct in this election and in past elections, and will be filling legislation to eliminate the elected office of Cook County Clerk, making it a separate, non-partisan agency similar to the Chicago Board of Elections.

“David Orr’s conduct and conflict of interest has tainted this election in Cicero. David Orr is politically partisan and has and continues to use public resources to support his political allies to work against those he opposes,” Sandoval said.

Senator Sandoval’s concerns were echoed by 16th District Cook County Commissioner Jeffrey Tobolski, “I’m disturbed that a County Official who has oversight in elections has taken such a partisan position” said Tobolski. “As a Commissioner who votes on the County Clerk’s budget and who is accountable to the voters of Cook County, I’m troubled by David’s Orr’s conduct, as it reflects poorly on the people of Cook County.”

Sandoval said that Orr has in the past donated directly to many of the people supporting Ochoa in his battle against incumbent Town President Larry Dominick. Orr’s office employed Alderman Munoz’s spouse in the past, and his decade’s long relationship with Ochoa supporters, County Commissioner Garcia and US Rep. Gutierrez has been well known and dates back to the Harold Washington era.

“There is no doubt that David Orr has been a political clerk and not an objective, independent guardian of Cook County’s voting system. Instead of protecting the rights of voters, he has been using his influence to harass one campaign while ignoring allegations of obvious voter fraud by workers supported by his allies. That is an outrageous abuse of David Orr’s powers and clearly a violation of his responsibility to insure fair, balanced and non-partisan elections,” Sandoval said.

Sandoval, who is Vice Chairman of the Illinois Senate Committee on Local Government, said he will call for public hearings to examine Orr’s conduct in this election and in past elections.

“David Orr’s political activism in this election has compromised his judgment,” said Sandoval. “The voters of Cook County deserve better.”

Senator Sandoval represents the 11th Senate District, which includes the neighborhoods of Brighton Park, Clearing, Gage Park, Garfield Ridge, Little Village, West Lawn, and West Cook municipalities of Bedford Park, Burbank, Cicero, Forest View, Lyons, McCook, Stickney, Summit and Riverside


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Eliminate the Cook County Clerk’s Office

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Eliminate the Cook County Clerk’s Office
By Ray Hanania
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper• Friday, February 22, 2013
When it comes to election fraud, Cook County is one of the worst offenders. While making it easier for anyone to vote, Cook County officials have also made fraud easier.
No single vote process is more susceptible to fraud than Absentee Voting.
In the past, voters were only allowed to vote by Absentee Ballot when they couldn’t vote on election day. They needed a legitimate excuse. Now, to encourage everyone to vote, Cook County allows you to vote by absentee ballot.
At a recent training session of election judges, I asked Cook County Clerk David Orr about this now common scenario:
The County receives an Absentee Ballot. But on election day, the voter comes in to vote in person. The voter is told, sorry, you already voted. The voter can protest and cast a “Provisional Ballot.”
But Orr said when he reviews the two votes, he will take the Absentee Ballot if the signature looks legitimate and reject the vote by the voter.
In other words, David Orr believes a piece of paper has more rights than a human being. Anyone can get an absentee ballot and cast it by signing someone else’s name. All you need is a voter list with their signatures on it to forge the signature so it looks real.
Why would David Orr accept the piece of paper which is sent in by mail and reject the voter who walks into a polling place to cast their ballot?
How can you accept a piece of paper that could easily have been cast fraudulently and reject the real voter who shows up and casts a vote?
What kind of Democratic System is that? The system should always take the vote cast by the person than through Cook County’s corrupt system.
Orr’s top deputy was at his side when she complained that the Feb. 26 election battle in the suburb where I was at was “disruptive.”
“I had one voter at early voting tell me that she was so disgusted by all of the people who came up to her urging her to vote for their candidate that she didn’t want to vote,” she declared at the end of the training.
“Oh yea,” I replied. “Democracy is a pain in the ass alright.”
There is something wrong with the whole process of freedom and democracy when the freedom to urge the public to vote for a candidate is “disruptive” and a “hassle” and when the office of an elected official like David Orr describes voting is a “pain.”
What David Orr’s deputy is saying is that they don’t want voters to be lobbied by precinct captains or even the candidates. That’s because they only care about the numbers. Turnout. Cook County has a terrible voter turnout, I say because the system is so corrupt.
If that means vote fraud, so be it, according to David Orr.
The Illinois Legislature should intervene and eliminate the Cook County Clerk’s office. It should instead appoint a non-elected, non-political administrator to enforce the law fairly, and cut the budget in half.
When a politician like Orr hears charges of fraud, he can easily turn his back when it involves his political allies. When it involves his foes, he can suddenly scream about fraud and corruption and get off his cushy office chair and complain.
Why should an elected official and a politician like David Orr have that kind of partisan power to help his friends?
(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and political consultant named “Best Ethnic Columnist in America by New America Media and the recipient of four Peter Lisagor Awards from the Chicago Headline Club and the National Sigma Delta Chi Award 2010 from the Society of Professional Journalists. He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992, and now provides media services to governments and political clients. Reach him at or