Champaign County Party Leaders Surprised by Quinn’s Open Primary Move
The two major political party leaders in Champaign County say they were blindsided by Governor Pat Quinn's decision to change Illinois' primary election process.
The governor used his amendatory veto power to write a new provision into a bill involving voter guides. The provision would remove the requirement that people declare which party's ballot they want when they go to the polls. Quinn's revision would mean that poll workers would hand voters ballots for all parties, and voters would choose secretly which one to turn in. However, lawmakers could choose to override Quinn's revision in the fall veto session.
Al Klein heads the Champaign County Democratic Committee but doesn't like his fellow Democrat's move. Klein says it will make his job tougher if he can't find out someone's party affiliation by how they voted.
"There are appointments that currently have to be made on a partisan basis", says Klein. "How do you determine --- other than what the person told you --- what their partisanship was, over the last ten years or so?"
Champaign County Republican Chairman Jason Barickman has the same concern as a party leader, but he's ambivalent on whether an open primary is a good idea.
"I think there's a good-government argument that can be made in favor of it, and that's enticing to me", says Barickman. "I think there some maybe more logistical questions as to how party leaders determine who their membership is."
Barickman says Republicans he's talked to are split in their opinion over an open primary. Supporters say if people weren't forced to openly declare a party, more would come out to vote.