Deb Mell Remains on the Ballot

Could stay on ballot but not be able to vote

By Steve Rhodes
|  Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009  |  Updated 1:07 PM CDT
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Deb Mell Remains on the Ballot

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Get ready for a new entry into the "Only in Illinois" files this week.

The state election board is expected to take up hearing officer Barbara Goodman's ruling last week that state Rep. Deb Mell remain on the ballot even though she isn't registered to vote - and certainly not at the old address she used on her election forms.

Much to her dismay, Goodman found that candidates in Illinois need not be registered to vote, even though their petition signers must be.

"I find nothing in the Election Code that tells me that a candidate has to be a registered voter at all," Goodman said. "I think we all agreed that the petition signers have to be registered voters at the addresses shown on their petitions, and I have a hard time understanding the logic used to require candidates to have a lesser connection to the voting process than petition signers. But there it is . . . However troubling I find this issue . . . I believe I'm compelled to grant the motion to dismiss."

Rich Means, the lawyer representing challenger Joe Laiacona, says he's ready to appeal if the state board backs Mell.

Then again, even if Mell wins not all is lost for the Laiacona campaign. As political analyst Russ Stewart points out, Mell still won't be able to vote - even for herself.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review. 

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