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Illinois Governor Alters an Election Law Bill to Convert Illinois Open Primary Into a Secret Open Primary

Published on July 13, 2010, by in General.

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.

6 Responses

  1. In 2006, 20-plus Illinois localities had non-binding ballot measures about changing to “open primary, private choice.” All of these measures passed overwhelmingly.

    Besides Wisconsin and Montana, the other states that have “open primary, private choice” are Hawaii, North Dakota, Michigan, Minnesota, Idaho, and Vermont.

  2. Richard

    Hawaii, Minnesota and North Dakota don’t have presidential primaries, though.

  3. Jim Riley

    Illinois could simply eliminate the presidential preference primary, and move their primary to a normal date.

    An amendatory veto is in essence a way for the governor to say he would have signed the legislature’s bill if it had certain additional provisions which he specifies in his veto message. The legislature can then revise the bill and pass it with a simple majority. They need not follow the language proposed by the governor, and the governor could then sign or not sign the bill.

    The legislature can also simply override the amendatory veto with a 2/3 majority. You may recall this is what happened last year when the legislature passed the bill requiring nominees who were selected by a party after the primary failed to nominate anyone, to get the same signatures they would have needed if they had filed for the primary. Quinn issued an amendatory veto adding some provisions which were only tangentially related. The legislature simply overrode his veto.

    In States without an amendatory veto, if the governor issues a conventional veto, and the legislature does not override, they would be stuck with passing entire new legislation that would satisfy a governor’s objection – and there might not be time to do so. On the other hand, the governor in those states probably would not veto a bill that he agrees to or has no real objections.

  4. Jeff Becker

    so. West Virginia governor convenes special legislative session to change succession law so that he can run for U.S. Senate while voters are still mourning their dead Byrd… even though he and his Rat buddies all knew this was going to happen for the last five years!

  5. Demo Rep

    Is IL a DICTATORSHIP ??? — having ANY governor having the ability to change laws is like having a STALIN/HITLER clone in control.

    Little wonder that the IL regime is among the most corrupt in the U.S.A. – compounded by the Chicago gangster regime.

  6. The Wisconsin Constitution Article III includes this:
    “All votes shall be by secret ballot.”

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