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 http://rayhanania.wordpress.com/. com. Share your thoughts by visiting his Facebook page at http://facebook.com/rghanania) — City & Suburban News-Herald