Federal appeals court orders Election Day voter registration in Chicago

The operative question in Chicago on Election Day may be not “How many votes were cast?,” but rather “How many votes do the Democrats need?”*  Tina Sfondeles of the Chicago Sun-Times reports the court decision that makes just-in-time vote manufacturing an option in President Obama’s adoptive hometown, run by his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel.

Chicagoans may be able to register to vote on Election Day in their polling places, after all.

A federal appellate judge on Tuesday halted a lower court judge’s decision to bar Election Day voter registration in polling places, after the Illinois Attorney General’s office argued last week that the statute doesn’t inhibit, but enhances the right to vote.

The Illinois A.G. has a name, and it is Lisa Madigan, daughter of the state’s real political boss, Mike Madigan, head of the state Democratic Party and speaker of the state House of Representatives.  You don’t get any more politically connected in than the Madigans, in a state where political connections are everything.

The attorney general’s office on Sept. 30 filed a motion for a stay of the lower court ruling, pending appeal. A judge on Tuesday granted that motion, while also giving the defendants until Thursday to provide a statement about why they believe the appeals should be expedited, according to court records.

Oddly enough, the name Madigan still does not appear here or anywhere else in the text of the Sun-Times article.

Rick Pearson of the Chicago Tribune uses the A.G.’s actual name and explains the underlying argument of the case:

On Sept. 29, U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan declined to reconsider his ruling that the same-day registration option benefited Democratic strongholds, like Chicago, and disadvantaged rural regions that may favor Republican candidates. The state law that created Election Day registration applied only to counties of 100,000 people or more with electronic poll books.

Democratic Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan's office appealed, asking to delay the ruling until it could be heard by an appeals court. Madigan had argued that removing the same-day registration and voting option so close to the election would unfairly deny some citizens voting rights.

I am frustrated that the argument is not sufficiently articulated that fraudulent votes deprive legitimate voters, who voted the opposite way on any particular issue, of their voting rights.  Their votes have been canceled by fraudulent votes in the opposite direction.

Now, if you trust Chicago election officials to be scrupulous, and if you think vote fraud is really rare, there is nothing to worry about if the appeals court does not reverse itself upon hearing the arguments.

*In 1960, JFK won Illinois's electoral votes due to a suspiciously high margin in the City of Chicago.  Controversies abound to this day about the legitimacy of Kennedy's win.

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