Monday, March 5, 2018

T-minus 15 (days) and counting ‘til Election Day, or you can vote now

I’ve been remembering one-time Illinois state Senate President James “Pate” Philip quite a bit in recent days.
PHILIP: Would he be offended?

We’re coming up on Election Day in a couple of weeks, and the beginning of the Early Voting process actually begins Monday. Although you don’t have to even be registered yet in order to have a ballot that will count come March 20.

A THOUGHT THAT I’m sure would appall Philip. I remember a moment from the Legislature a couple of decades ago when the concept of “motor voter” (registering at a Department of Motor Vehicles bureau when you renew your driver’s license) came up.

Philip went into a diatribe about how uncomplicated it was to register (a trip to the election authority for your home county), and did we really want to have people registered to vote who couldn’t bring them to make such a trip?

I suspect the idea that people can now actually show up at an Early Voting Center without registration; but cast a ballot anyway that eventually will be counted would offend him.

Of course, much of the strategy for Republican political operatives is keeping the total number of voters down – as in only select types of people turning out to the polls. Getting more people to vote usually results in those pesky types who vote for the other political party’s candidates.
Can this cast of characters ...

ONE CAN ARGUE that increasing the number of people who are properly registered to vote benefits society as a whole. Getting people interested in the political process and seeing that it’s their voice in the eventual electoral outcome is a plus.

Then again, public concern usually isn’t the top concern of political people. Even though many operatives describe what they do for a living is “doing the peoples’ business.”

I wonder if they’d be offended by the circumstances of my own extended family.
... motivate people to want ...

I have a nephew, Tyler, who just turned 18 a couple of weeks ago. Yes, he expressed some interest in how to go about registering to vote.

BUT IN THE end, it took my own father’s nagging to get my nephew to sit down at a computer long enough to go through the Illinois State Board of Elections website and fill out a registration form on-line.
... to vote in the next two weeks?

Is it going to take a similar effort to get him to turn out to the polling place in a couple of weeks? Or is there something special about the prospect of political characters such as Bruce Rauner, J.B. Pritzker, a Kennedy of our own or a possible political comeback for Pat Quinn that would stir up interest for his first election cycle.

I know in my case, the “first” election cycle was 1984 – the one in which incumbent Ronald Reagan cleaned Walter Mondale’s “clock” in his re-election bid.

And yes, to this day I take a certain perverse bit of pride in not being amongst those who wanted “four more years” of “the Gipper” himself.
REAGAN: An election 'first' all those yrs ago

AS FOR MYSELF, I’m most likely going to take advantage of Early Voting this week (for professional reasons, it makes the reporter-type person in me more free to work on Election Day if I don’t have to set aside time on March 20 to go to a polling place).

Although I have to admit to not being fully sure yet who I’m going to vote for in the primaries for governor, attorney general or any of the other state, federal or county government posts that are up for grabs this time around.

Yes, I got the text message on Friday from “Team JB,” asking me if they could count on my vote for Pritzker and lieutenant governor running mate Juliana Stratton.

I haven’t ruled it out. But then again, about the only person I’ve ruled out is Robert Marshall. Anybody who wants to run for governor, then break the state up into multiple pieces, isn’t worthy of anyone’s vote.


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