Will Gordy Hulten Refuse a Grandmother’s Right to Vote?

Gordy Hulten, Champaign County Clerk, has created rules for implementing Illinois’ grace period voting that will result in qualified, registered voters being unable to vote.  Illinois law allows people to register to vote or change their address of registration up until three days before the election on November 3.  The registration or change of address must be done at the County Clerk's office.  In the other 101 counties in Illinois, County Clerks either allow or require grace period registrants to cast their ballot at the County Clerk's office at the time that they register or change their address.  Hulten refuses to allow them to vote.
Despite the fact that these grace period registrants provide his office with proof of address, Gordy insists on mailing an absentee ballot application to the voter to prove the person’s address.  It has taken 6 days for people to receive that application.  Then, when they go to his office in person to return the application, he still refuses to let them vote.   Instead, he sends them home to wait another 6 days for the absentee ballot to arrive in the mail.  And, he requires that they mail it back, noting that as long as it is postmarked by midnight on November 5, the ballot will be counted if received within 14 days after the election.  If the ballot arrives in the voter's mailbox on Election Day, will Gordy accept it in person on that day?   It seems the answer is no.

An 87-year old woman who has been a registered voter in Champaign County since 1970 was turned away from the County Clerk’s office on Monday, October 29, 6 days after she changed her address of registration within the county.   It was her second visit to Gordy's office in two weeks and still, he won’t let her vote.  She’s waiting for the ballot to arrive in the mail.  If she doesn’t get it by next Monday, for the first time in her life, she will not be voting.

Given the time it’s taking for mail to arrive, anyone who changed their address of registration or registered after October 24 is not likely to get a ballot in time to vote. I was also told that from this point forward, anyone who uses grace period registration will be sent a federal-only ballot. That means they can vote for President and U.S. Representative but not for anyone running for state or local office.    

Gordy Hulten's behavior to suppress voting is worse than anything his predecessor, Mark Shelden, ever did.  It appears he cannnot be stopped.

By Esther Patt

Par for the Course

Gordy is simply representing his party's interests:

When you represent the 1%, the fewer people voting for whatever reason is good for those you represent. Given that Citizens United has graced the right-wing elites with a fire-sale on democracy, Gordy needs to do his part to make sure that as many of the "wrong" people don't vote as is possible by carving out fine distinctions in Illinois law that no one else sees, including his fellow Republican county clerks.

Who knows, if Mitt wins, the next time around, the weight of your vote could be based on the size of your investment accounts, credit lines, and home equity.


Given Romney's almost complete loss of touch with reality, it shouldn't surprise us that members of the party of buffoonism and vote suppression keep coming up with more silly reasons to keep people from voting. There's been like maybe a dozen cases across the nation in the last decade where what Gordy is doing MIGHT indicate fraud.

So does he really have time to be chasing a needle that might be in a haystack in Nebraska?

And shouldn't he be concerned about the undoubtedly far more numerous people who will NOT get to vote because of his petty and untested interpretation of Illinois law?

Yeah, you do the math. Gordy will obviously disenfranchise voters when it's highly unlikely there's even one person within 500 miles in this election who will try to vote multiple times.

And how many polling stations could a supposedly criminally-minded granny in her 80s visit? Yeah, after two or three, she'd be done for the day anyway.

Unfortunately, the Democrats bear a large share of the responsibility for such shenanigans. They've had the power to fix such problems in Illinois for some time now. They seem to prefer throwing up their own obstacles to third parties, instead of focusing on facilitating voting by every possible voter for a wider variety of options than Dumb and Ridiculous. It's just part of the pile of crap that is Illinois politics. Like with many issues, it would be nice if both parties worried more about the people's business than their squabbles over how best to screw the citizenry.

Problems at the Polls

by David Firestone

This is the day when voters raised on a reverence for democracy realize the utter disregard their leaders hold for that concept. The moment state and local officials around the country get elected, they stop caring about making it easy for their constituents to vote. Some do so deliberately, for partisan reasons, while others just don’t pay attention or decide they have bigger priorities.

The result can be seen in the confusion, the breakdowns, and the agonizingly slow lines at thousands of precincts in almost every state.

As they stand in windswept, hourlong lines to cast a ballot, voters might ask themselves, why are there so few polling places and workers? Why isn’t the government making it easier for me to vote, rather than forcing me through an endurance contest?

Why can’t the New York City Board of Elections hire workers who understand the system that employs them? Why can’t officials in Cleveland and south Florida keep their voting machines working? Why is the election board in Pinellas County, Fla., sending out robo-calls saying people can vote until 7 p.m. Wednesday?

The reason for this is clear: making democracy efficient takes second place in the United States to the cherished notion of letting local officials run the election system. In this “hyperdecentralized system,” in the words of Richard Hasen, a voting expert at the University of California, Irvine, the process of voting is left in the hands of “volunteers or poorly paid workers, many of whom lack adequate training or formal expertise.”

Their supervisors are partisans, often making decisions about spending money on new machines or expanding the system on the basis of how it will affect their party. (Making it difficult to vote, particularly in urban areas, has become a national priority of the Republican Party.) “The United States is almost alone among mature democracies in allowing the foxes to guard the henhouse,” Mr. Hasen writes in his new book, “The Voting Wars.”

Here are just a few examples from this morning of the cost of these misguided priorities:

Precincts throughout New York City, including many unaffected by last week’s storm, had lines of voters stretching for blocks. In many cases, this was because scanners had broken down or there were simply not enough poll workers to accommodate the perfectly predictable big crowds. As Mayor Bloomberg (a frequent critic of the board) put it, “I kept hearing, ‘What’s this, a third-world country?’ ”
A poll worker on the Upper East Side couldn’t find Mr. Bloomberg’s name in the voter rolls, so she gave the book to him to let him find his own name. Mayor or not, that violates the rules.
Voters were being turned away in Pennsylvania for not having a photo ID card, even though that requirement isn’t in effect for this election.
A voter in the Cincinnati suburb of Norwood walked into a polling place and was handed a “sample ballot guide.” It turned out to be a guide on how to vote Republican on every question, from a party worker electioneering (illegally) inside the polling place.
Ohio’s election board made a serious error and falsely told thousands of people they were not registered. Rather than fix the problem, state officials decided those people would have to use provisional ballots, which will not be counted for two weeks.
Some Latino voters in Arizona who thought they registered on the same day they got United States citizenship were not on the rolls. One Latino voter was asked by a poll worker whom she planned to vote for.

These kinds of problems don’t happen in Oregon and Washington state, which conduct their elections by mail. That system is not perfect, but no one has to wait for hours in the cold or confront deeply misinformed poll workers.

What’s amazing and inspiring is that millions of people are willing to brave these indignities to participate. At some point, officials in every state capital and ultimately in Washington should treat them with the same degree of respect by adopting uniform and rigorous national standards for voting and a system that works. It doesn’t have to be this hard.

© 2012 The New York Times Company

As Stalin Said...

It's not who votes that counts, it's who counts the votes.

In one more indication that Gordy isn't even meeting the rather low standard that his predecessor Mark Sheldon set, I find that there are no voting results posted -- at least where they can be found easily -- on the county clerk's website. Rather unsurprisingly, the local dominant media seems to have missed this -- unless I totally missed it.

I realize that these results were unofficial when posted in the past by Sheldon. But I see no reason to be giving the voters less information in a less timely fashion short of incompetence and/or more shameless political maneuvering. Must I really wait for the Thursday paper or call his office to view results? The way this is going, they'd probably ask me to file a FOIA request for the vote count.

Sad. Pathetic. And we get 4 more years of Gordy honing his skills at creatively suppressing access to voting.

Election Results Still MIA

Well, it's Friday afternoon after the election. There were no results available the evening of the election and nothing since. You can keep checking for them yourself here:

There was considerable bragging about how many computers were purchased to speed things up at polling stations and that seemed to go well enough when I was there.

But really, we're back to 1995 as far as posting results in timely fashion online. Good job, Gordy.

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