Illinois Republicans Holding Online Straw Poll - NBC Chicago
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Illinois Republicans Holding Online Straw Poll



    Illinois Republicans Holding Online Straw Poll
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    Republican presidential candidates (L-R) U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), Mitt Romney, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Newt Gingrich stand during The Pledge of Allegiance as they prepare to debate during the event sponsored by CNN and The Tea Party Express at the Florida State fairgrounds on September 12, 2011 in Tampa, Florida.

    For a $5 donation to the Illinois Republican Party, you can cast a meaningless vote!

    Starting this Saturday, the Illinois Republican Party is holding its first online straw poll. Sen. Mark Kirk sent this message to his fellow partisans:

    Next Saturday, you will have the opportunity to make history.

    Other states have straw polls but no one has ever done what we’re doing. Voters from Chicago to Cairo will have their votes counted on who they prefer to be the nominee for President via the Internet or a location near their home.

    Online voting opens at 9:00 AM Central Time on Saturday, October 29 and closes at 7:00 PM on Saturday, November 5 at

    In-person paper voting, run by our GOP county chairmen wishing to participate, will take place from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM Central Time on Saturday, November 5. The results from both the online and paper polls will be combined and announced at a special event scheduled at the GOP headquarters in Chicago the night of Saturday, November 5th.

    Voters who want to participate in the Illinois Straw Poll, either online or in-person, must be Illinois Residents (for online voting, you must have a credit/debit card with an Illinois Zip Code) and contribute $5 to the Illinois Republican Party to help cover the cost of the straw poll. The proceeds will help candidates up and down the ballot.
    Once you vote online, you’ll be given an opportunity to volunteer or donate to the Republican presidential candidate you support.

    Let's be honest. If you have to pay to vote, it's not an election, it's a fundraiser. The 24th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- first ratified by Illinois -- outlawed the poll tax. Also, an online straw poll makes it easier for people with computers to vote, which would also be unconstitutional if tried in a real election.

    Because they attract small turnouts, straw polls often allow fringe candidates with narrow but intense followings to win victories that would be impossible in an open primary. The presidential election season's first straw poll, in Ames, Iowa, was won by Michelle Bachmann. Ron Paul came in a close second. Frontrunner Mitt Romney, who knows the difference between a straw poll and a primary, came in a distant seventh.

    Likewise, the Illinois Straw Poll may be hijacked by one of those candidates. It could end up as an embarrassment to the party. At the very least, we predict the winner of the Straw Poll won't win the primary.

    Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!