Illinois Governor Alters an Election Law Bill to Convert Illinois Open Primary Into a Secret Open PrimaryJuly 13th, 2010
There are two basic types of classic open primary in the United States. One requires the voter at the polls on primary election day to publicly ask for one particular party’s ballot. The other type gives a primary voter ballots for all the parties that are entitled to have a primary, and then the voter decides in secret which party’s ballot to use.
On July 13, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn used the Governor’s authority to amend a bill that the legislature had passed. In particular, he amended an uncontroversial election bill to set up Voters Pamphlets on the internet. Quinn amended this bill, HB 4842, so that the bill also switches Illinois from a public open primary to a secret open primary. Here is the text of the bill as amended, which is 15 pages long.
This bill will not take effect if the Illinois legislature overrides Quinn’s action. They are free to do this early next year. Since Illinois has already had its primary this year, there is no need for quick action. Most observers believe the legislature will not permit the bill to become law. If the bill were to become law, it appears to violate the Democratic and Republican Party national bylaws, which don’t recognize presidential primaries if they are secret open primaries (although the national parties have made exceptions for a few states that use this type of presidential primary, such as Wisconsin and Montana). Thanks to Patrick Kelly for this news.