Quinn uses veto to push for open primaries

July 13, 2010 7:27:54 PM PDT
Governor Pat Quinn exercised his veto power Tuesday in hopes of establishing open primary elections in Illinois.

If the measure goes through, voters will no longer be required to declare their party affiliation before casting their ballot.

In the amended bill's version of an open primary, you still would have to vote for one party or another. The only real difference would be that you would not have to tell an election judge beforehand in which primary you wanted to vote.

In the past, politicians have used that information for their own purposes.

Under the new rules, voters would receive both ballots when they go to vote.

There were no other elected officials in the room at the Thompson Center downtown when Governor Quinn changed the bill to establish an internet voters guide, adding a provision to set up the Illinois version of an open primary.

"I didn't invite anybody today," said Quinn. "I think when you do an amendatory veto, I think it's a time for political science discussion, and we've having it."

If the governor's amendment is approved by the general assembly, then Illinois voters would no longer be required to declare their party affiliation before entering the voting booth during primary elections.

If the assembly does not approve the amendment, the old system will continue.

"Let the people have freedom of conscience - that fundamental right of privacy - the right to be left alone - it's one of the most fundamental rights that we have," said Quinn.

Illinois Republican Party Chairman Pat Brady agrees with the governor that voters should not have to tell anyone their party preference, but he said the governor should be focused on the state's financial crisis.

"Does this reduce our budget deficit... or dig us out of a hole?" said Brady.

On the campaign front. the governor's Republican challenger, Senator Bill Brady, released a radio ad this morning criticizing Quinn for increasing the pay of several administration employees.

"Sticking us with the bill, while calling for shared sacrifice - some sacrifice," went a passage in Brady's new ad.

Quinn says he has cut his own pay and his office's budget more than any governor in Illinois history. Then he lashed out at State Senator Brady, who didn't pay any state income taxes last year and voted against a pay cut for state lawmakers.

"If you can cut your own budget and cut your own pay, those out there who don't cut their own budget and don't cut their own pay and don't pay any taxes - I don't think they should be throwin' rocks," said Quinn.

There has no response to the amendatory veto from state Democratic Party Chairman Michael Madigan's office.

In his other role as speaker of the Illinois House, Madigan will play a major role in deciding whether the governor's action is ratified or overridden by the general assembly.

Quinn apparently did not consult with the party bosses before his action today. But past surveys have suggested that an overwhelming majority of voters do not like having to declare their party affiliation.


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