Thursday, July 15, 2010

Election drama

Tonight is sort of nerve wracking. And if I think it is for me, just observing, I cannot imagine what some other people are going through.

All week long, the trial challenging the election results from the 2008 State's Attorney race has been going. Tomorrow morning is closing argument. At the time the race was decided, the winner had won by only 69 votes, and a re-count was called. Ultimately, the whole thing blew up into this huge mess, where the State's Attorney and official in charge of supervising the elections, are on the defense.

Yes, it is almost time to start campaigning for the next election next year.

There are several interesting issues in this case. One interesting argument is that because there were some irregularities in one of the precincts (such as ballots being numbered by judges, to make sure they were all accounted for), every vote from that precinct should be thrown out.

Another challenge is that some people's reason for requesting an absentee ballot is not particularly good--and many of the votes cast that way were denied during this case. For example, a person might have requested an absentee ballot because she is 92, and attempting to go to a poll in November when weather is questionable could be dangerous. That ballot would have been provided to her, and she would have returned it, only to have the whole thing thrown out later because it was ruled (only due to this case) that was not a good enough reason to request an absentee ballot.

The challenger has attempted to show that some voters did not live (at the time they voted) at the address they listed on their voter registration, and thus, their votes should be thrown out. Many of these cases were simply a matter of not updating their registration and most, if not all, would still be called to vote in the same precinct, but it is a technical violation.

The appointment of election judges has also come under fire--as has the missing signature of one judge's signature on the final paperwork. The signatures from other judges, from both political parties, are there, but again another technical violation.

There are allegations that ballots were tampered with during the pendency of this lawsuit. ...well after the votes were counted.

I do not believe there has been any demonstration that any of the errors were made with malice. With the exception of that last one of course--its hard to see how that would happen innocently.

Then there is the small problem of the secrecy of ballots. No one is supposed to know how someone voted---but we do.

There are bigger implications here than are at first apparent. Most of the problems stemmed from a single precinct. It is a poor precinct made up mostly of African-Americans, who voted overwhelmingly in favor of the winner. That means there are racial and socioeconomic issues wrapped up in this too.

So tomorrow is the big day. I do not know for sure if the judge is going to rule from the bench or we will have to wait longer for a result. I hope not. I have observed some of the trial with my interns, who are required to get a certain number of observation hours to get their class credit, and it has been kind of fun. I like a reminder of what really happens in a court room, instead of just reading it in black and white like I have to do at work--there is a world of communication we miss just reading transcripts.

I have no idea what this has cost. I know we the tax payers have had to foot the bill for the county official defending the case--I am pretty sure of that, since it stems from her job. The Republican party has paid for the challenger's legal expenses, or so I hear. I believe the State's Attorney has handled his own bills, or at least most of them. In this time of financial strain, I am a little resentful that this is happening--most people are. But if there is truly a systemic problem, it needs to be uncovered. How much of this though is about ego, and pinning down a well-paying job where there are not many? I do not know all the motivations of course--and I like both the SA and his challenger, as people. I have a preference of course, based on my work and my personal politics, but I am trying to keep them out of my thoughts on this--that is easier said than done for sure.

Also, I cannot find the stinking remote control to the TV


Anonymous said...


tell the results of this Election Drama. I am sure it is not one that will appear on the local news.

But my interest has been more than "peeked".

Take care--try and keep cool you and all your 4-legged friends.

Holly said...

I love it when you post stuff like this. Your view is so interesting. For one thing, you are so capable and for a second you have a slight insider view that we often don't get to hear. I will be curious to see what happens, make sure you post it, K?

PsychoSecretary said...

Thank you Paige for posting this. And saying all I want to but cannot say!

Paige said...

Game over. Jeff is out. Nicole is being sworn in as the states attorney this afternoon.

mommymae said...

my mom sent me a text earlier, telling me the results. i'm not sure how i feel about it, really. i think jeff went out with his head held high.

Carrie said...

So is that a good thing for you?

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