Knox county Tea Party leader and Republican congressional candidate in Illinois’ 17th district Patrick Harlan and the Liberty Justice Center scored a major victory in Federal court to stop Democrat efforts to rig the vote in Illinois ahead of the November 8th Presidential election.
During the 2014 lame duck session Illinois Democrat Party boss and Speaker of the House Michael Madigan ushered throw a new same day voter registration law that required counties with populations of more than 100,000 to let people register to vote at all polling places on election day. Of the 102 counties in Illinois many have populations well under that threshold, there are several Illinois counties with populations of less than 10,000. Those counties with lower populations only are required to have a central same day registration site under the law.
This obviously allows Democrats to maximize their voter turn out and vote totals in Chicago and Cook county in favor of Hillary Clinton and congresswoman Tammy Duckworth who is running for the US Senate. As Republican statewide office seekers have known for a long time in Illinois it doesn’t matter how Illinois 101 other counties vote, everything is determined by Chicago and Cook county.
On Tuesday Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan agreed with arguments made by Harlan(whose is facing Rep. Cheri Bustos) and the Liberty Justice Center that the Madigan same day registration law was unconstitutional and disenfranchised the vote of residents of the states many rural counties.
Yehiayan wrote, “while it may be true that the polling place registration option can assist voters in certain populous counties, that option cannot be provided at the expense of lower population counties, thereby decreasing their political representation in Illinois.
Judge Yehiayan continued, “The application of this legislation favors the urban citizen and dilutes the vote of the rural citizen,” wrote Der-Yeghiayan, who added, “Illinois is made up of more than the Chicago metropolitan area and other high population areas. Equality under the law does not end at the city limits.”
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan(Speaker Madigan’s daughter) has said that she will appeal the ruling.
Jacob Huebert of the Liberty Justice Center said in a press release,
Today the court recognized the unfairness of guaranteeing a voting right to some voters but not others. The court ruled that if Illinois is going to have Election Day voter registration at polling places, it should be available statewide – and it should be fair. The government shouldn’t make it harder for people in some parts of the state to register and vote. If Illinois wants to provide Election Day voter registration at the polls, it can do so in a way that’s fair and equal. Six other states, including Illinois’ neighbors Wisconsin and Iowa, give all of their citizens the right to register and vote at their local polling places; they don’t favor voters in some counties over voters in other counties. We’re pleased the court affirmed that everyone has right to the same opportunity to vote.”
As it stands the ruling gives Gov. Bruce Rauner and his allies better chances of picking up a few seats in the state legislature; any GOP gains would end Speaker Madigan’s veto-proof super-majority. The ruling is not likely to help Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, who was in the Chicagoland area Wednesday, much as Hillary Clinton is still widely expected to win the heavily blue state, although her margin of victory is probably going to be diminished due to the courts actions. This court order might also be the only thing that can save Sen. Mark Kirk’s bacon.
Congresswoman Bustos has had no comment on the court ruling, although she will probably fire off a bunch of fundraising emails about it; she has more than $2 million in the bank, Patrick Harlan’s campaign is broke(donate here).
Voters across Illinois owe Patrick Harlan and the Liberty Justice Center a huge debt of gratitude for taking a small bite out of the Madigan machine and for making it a little easier to have fair(er) elections this November.