Ray Hanania analyzes Middle East & American issues for Creators Syndicate. Nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for a series on the Palestinian Intifada. Winner of 4 SPJ Lisagor Awards for Column Writing; Best Ethnic American Columnist by the New America Media ('07). Sigma Delta Chi Nat'l Award for column writing ('10). This is Hanania's personal blog, writing on everything under the sun. Visit www.TheArabDailyNews.com. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, February 21, 2013
Eliminate the Cook County Clerk’s Office
Eliminate the Cook County Clerk’s Office By Ray HananiaSouthwest 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 www.UrbanStrategiesGroup.com or www.TheMediaOasis.com)