Tuesday, November 4, 2014

EXTRA: Electoral unpredictability; or looking to place political blame?

I found it intriguing Tuesday night to hear the allegations of how Republican operatives arranged for a batch of “robo-calls” to would-be polling place workers to cause enough confusion that many of those election judges didn’t show up at their posts on Election Day.

The end result was several polling places that opened late, confusion reigned, and some of those places remained open until as late as 9 p.m. to try to accommodate voters.

LANGDON NEAL OF the Chicago Board of Election Commissioners called the activity “malicious,” and said he suspects it was the Chicago and Cook County Republican parties that were responsible for such activity.

Although WTTW-TV reported that officials with both of those GOP organizations denied doing any such thing, in large part because they don’t have the kind of money it would take to successfully pull off such a scam.

Considering that local Republicans couldn’t even find token candidates to run for Cook County government posts (guess what, Tom Dart was re-elected sheriff with ease), they may be right on their inability to do something so sinister.

What it really comes down to is that this is another potential ground for someone to claim after the fact that they were cheated out of an election. Just as GOP operatives have been whining about machines in the voter booths that were improperly recording votes meant for Republican candidates as going for the Democratic challengers.

WHY WORRY ABOUT actually turning out the vote when you can accuse the opposition of cheating you out of what you think you’re entitled to!

What should we think of the election results, which are far from settled for governor as of when this is being written?

Especially in the early stages, the numbers that roll in don’t mean much.

Consider that with 1 percent of precincts’ votes counted, Republican Bruce Rauner led Gov. Pat Quinn 62 percent to 36 percent. But by the time another 1 percent was counted, the tally shifted to 58 percent for Quinn to 40 percent for Rauner.

QUINN SEEMS TO be holding a slight lead through the early stages, but this is a tally that could easily shift in the wee hours of Wednesday. We’ll have to wait and see.

In the campaign for U.S. Senate, the results were more predictable. Within the first half hour after most polling places were closed, news media organizations rushed to try to be the first to say that Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., had defeated Republican challenger James Oberweis.

They were basing that on exit polls, not actual vote tallies.

As evidenced by WGN-TV, which at 7:37 p.m. reported that Durbin won – even though their tallies showed that with 1 percent of the vote counted, Oberweis was leading Durbin 53 percent to 44 percent.

FOR HIS PART, Oberweis conceded defeat publicly at about 8:30 p.m., although he made sure to point out that it appeared Republicans would wind up with a majority overall in the U.S. Senate.

“For that, I’m very grateful,” Oberweis told those who gathered at one of his family’s dairy operations in suburban Glen Ellyn, while adding he plans to focus back on Springfield, where he still has two years remaining on his term as senator from suburban Sugar Grove.

I have to admit to getting a kick out of Oberweis’ Election Night tie – depicting an ice cream cone. His dairy does make some good ice cream.

But I have to confess to a groan upon hearing political pundit and Roosevelt University political science professor Paul Green speculate on WGN-TV about how Oberweis might challenge Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., in the 2016 Republican primary – saying, “He might throw his cone in on that one.”


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