Friday, September 14, 2007

Now Peterson Wants Fewer Precincts

When former Marion County Clerk Doris Ann Sadler sought Peterson's approval to reduce the number of precincts, he and his then-Deputy Mayor Beth White shot the idea down. After Beth White administered the most disastrous election in Marion County history last May, effectively disenfranchising thousands of voters when she failed to open polling places in several precincts, Peterson now is taking steps to reduce the number of precincts just as Sadler had originally requested. Mayor Peterson rewarded his former law firm, Ice Miller, with the contract to redraw the precinct boundaries. The Star's Brendan O'Shaughnessy writes:

Mayor Bart Peterson will present the state election commission with new voting maps today that would cut the number of voting precincts by about a third in 2008.

The reduction to about 590 from more than 900 precincts would mean that fewer poll workers are needed to run the polls, saving the county an estimated $180,000 every election. Fewer poll workers should also help avoid a disaster like the May primary, when dozens of precincts opened late and five didn't open at all because not enough poll workers were recruited.

Today was the deadline for the mayor to submit new precinct maps for the 2008 elections. The reduction will not affect the November elections.

Jackie Nytes, a Democrat council member who chaired an election investigation committee, said she was pleased with the outcome. The mayor's office contracted law firm Ice Miller to work with geographic maps in what she called a "complex math exercise."

I'm struggling a little with the idea you would contract with a law firm to draw those boundaries. When I used to work for the Illinois House Republican staff, there were firms with which the caucuses contracted, and which used computer technology to draw political maps. I'm sure Ice Miller had to turn around and subcontract the work to someone else to get these maps drawn. It's not within the professional expertise of an attorney to draw precinct maps.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure they were drawn to hizzoner's liking.

Wilson46201 said...

In 2001, Peterson submitted a detailed precinct consolidation map & plan to the State but the GOP blocked it. Later, Ms. Sadler casually floated the idea again later but no follow-up was ever done.

Redistricting using existing precincts is fairly simple - I've done it myself for Center using Excel spreadsheets. Consolidating and redrawing hundreds of precincts from scratch legally is a very different and complex exercise.

This year Ballard himself has called for such a precinct consolidation. Now the local GOP is objecting? Why dont they support Ballard's proposal? Odd.

Anonymous said...

So what your saying is the Mayor stole another one of Ballards ideas.

Anonymous said...

No wonder Julia has been in office so long....Wilson has been drawing up Center twp, maybe that's what she has been paying him for. Hmmmmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

The Mayor stole one of Ballard's ideas. Now that's rich. Which campaign manager d/jour came up with the Ballard "idea" ?

Gary, you need some fact-checkers. Damn I hate to admit, but Wilson is correct. The previous precinct plan was sent to the State and they took no action. For months. I don't know why. The reason may well be ugly politics.

Election law changes, or district boundaries, for decades, have usually been fought by the GOP. Because they like tight control over the process. That's how we got the idiotic Voter ID law like wew have--the nation's strongest. Overkill at its worst.

That's why consistent efforts to open up registration and voting processes, have been routinely blocked by legislative Republicans. They ought to be ashamed, but they aren't.

I'm told the new plan, approved by both county chairs, contains about 560 precincts.

The problem is, redrawing precincts affects every elected office. Districted candidates, for school boards, township board (which need to go anyway), council, legislature and Congress--all have certain precincts included or excluded based on geography, politics and other considerations.

It's a very tough proces,s but 560 is a hello of a lot better than it is now.

The biggest journey begins with a single step.

Wilson46201 said...

No district boundaries will or can be moved by this re-precincting process. Boundaries can only be altered by the legislative body with jurisdiction. That's what make precinct consolidation so really difficult. Precincts can not "sprawl" over existing district boundaries. Those boundaries must be respected!

Anonymous said...

Frankly, they could have been drawn in-house by the City's GIS staff.

Anonymous said...

Your way off on this one Gary. What you may want to look for will be the GOP's waffling. Past history can show us the future.

Anonymous said...

Gary, you are a LIAR.

1) Beth White was never, and will never be, a Deputy Mayor.

2) The Republicans at the State level killed a reprecincting proposal in '01 (when these things can be done easily as the various legislative districts are all being redrawn).

3) DA Sadler never seriously proposed such reprecinting, and when she spoke of it, it was to close to the 2008 cycle to make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Clerk Biography

Beth White was sworn in as Clerk of the Marion County Circuit Court on January 1, 2007.

Prior to her election, Clerk White served in various capacities in the administration of Bart Peterson, including Director of Constituent Services, Public Access Counselor, Deputy Director of the Department of Metropolitan Development, and Deputy Corporation Counsel.

Anonymous said...

It wouldn't surprise me if a lot of research needed to be done here. Schoosl/Towns can each have three or more board member districts, and I've been told GIS doesn't have all this info mapped. In addition, those boundaries are ocassionally reviewed and changed, so you'd want to research the legal descriptions to make sure you've got the most current version.

Anonymous said...

Today, the Ryerson Red Star Rag turns the editorial page into a campaign commercial for hizzoner ("leaving his campaign re-election team back Downtown").

In an article thinly disguised as honoring a local pastor, the Red Star Rag uses nine of the 18 paragraphs to praise the mayor.

They quote him supporting faith-based programs in this city, yet clearly, one of his first acts as mayor was to disband the Front Porch Alliance, one of the most successful programs this city has ever had.

Typical BS spouted by the mayor, about the "value of church-state cooperation."

Anonymous said...

Notice how the Ryerson Red Star Rag continues the myth:
"Unlike some past attempts to reduce precincts, this plan appears to be getting bipartisan support."
That's because past attempts were made by Republicans, and the Democrats fought to defeat it each time.
Now it is proposed by a democrat, and the Red Star makes it the lead story

Thanks to the Ryerson Red Star Rag and its lemming followers, like Mr. Henry J. above, the myth continues.

The Republicans tried at least twice (I believe 3 times) to reduce the number of polling sites, but the Democrats beat back the plan each time.

Now, when it is the mayor's plan, all of a sudden it is loved by everyone.

Anonymous said...

anon 9:10...A stirstick who has his/her fact jumbled. Do the work.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:10 You are either lying or totally unaware of the facts...Mayor Peterson presented a plan in 2001 which was blocked by the Republicans.,..state law gives the mayor the responsiblity to redraw the precincts and then he needs the approval of the state election board which is where all the republicans voted against it and killed it..........check your facts or quit lying whichever it is

Anonymous said...

"stole an idea from Ballard" You cant steal something a person doesn't have.....Ballard would have to have an original idea before someone stole it from him

Wilson46201 said...

That Red Star Rag editorial was penned by Russ Pulliam, conservative scion of the Pulliam Family who used to run the paper as a leading conservative birdcage liner. Russ is hardly a moonbat!

But go ahead and turn on your allies like Pulliam - dont let me stop you!

Anonymous said...

Doris Anne Sadler sent a letter to the Mayor early in 2005 requesting Mayor Peterson to reduce the precincts. The letter sent to the mayor was also provided to every member of the Admin and Finance Committee during Doris Anne Sadler's budget presentation in 2005. During her budget presentation the committee encouraged the mayor to act on Doris Anne's request. There were also meetings held in 2005 between Jerry McCory representing the mayor and Doris Anne.