Orr’s Policies Rejecting Live Voters Hurts 2nd District

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Orr’s Policies Rejecting Live Voters Hurts 2nd District
By RAY HANANIA • Friday, March 01, 2013
Southwest News-Herald Newspaper

Nowhere has Cook County Clerk David Orr’s policies on absentee balloting been more harmful than in the 2nd Congressional District, where voters Tuesday went to the polls to elect a successor to disgraced former Cong. Jesse Jackson Jr.

Many voters voted early. They could do it two ways. The first is through “Absentee balloting,” one of the most corrupt susceptible voting options in the country. The second is through Early Voting.

You no longer need an excuse to vote Absentee Ballot. You can do it out of convenience.

I had a chance to ask Orr about that process, noting that what if a voter walks into a polling place and is told they already voted by Absentee Ballot.

He said that even if the voter claims the absentee ballot is fraudulent, if the signature matches, according to Orr, he will accept the piece of paper rather than the vote of a live person who walks into the poll. Basically, he said the process is more important than the people.

Several members of the Illinois Legislature are now looking at bills to eliminate Orr’s office and make it an appointed, administrative position rather than an elected post that can be exploited by political partisanship.

In the 2nd Congressional District race, Orr’s policies will impact those early and absentee voters who cast ballots for state Sen. Toi Hutchinson. Hutchinson dropped out 10 days before the election. So many people have been in and out of the race that for many early and absentee voters who voted in the weeks before the election Feb. 26, their votes may not even count.

I’ve known David Orr since he was first elected in the 49th Ward as a Chicago alderman, the same year Jane Byrne upset the Machine and defeated Michael A. Bilandic.

Orr was an anti-Machine “Democrat” back then, screaming about Machine injustice and the unfairness of the system.

The David Orr who ran for office in 1979 would be the first person today to support a bill to eliminate the Clerk’s office, in Cook County, which has been plagued by corruption for years.

There are some good elected officials in Cook County but there are just as many who abuse the system, play favorites, including in the county’s judicial system where, today, many of Orr’s political allies sit and make partisan political decisions against enemies of their political friends.

The current system stinks. But what really stinks is that a once self-proclaimed “reformer” is in charge of a system that today promotes corruption and voter fraud, not stops it.

Something needs to be done. Why shouldn’t the Cook County Clerk’s office be like the Chicago Election board, which consists of party representatives from both sides who are appointed to office and answer to higher authorities, not to their own selfish politics.

I can’t believe that today, I would say that the Chicago Election Board is probably the most honest election system in the state and that the county system is the one mostly likely to produce voter fraud. How politics has changed.

The anti-Machine activists have become the new Machine. And they are worse than the old Machine because the new Machine members are hypocrites.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and political consultant. You may reach him at http://rayhanania.wordpress.com/. com. Share your thoughts by visiting his Facebook page at http://facebook.com/rghanania) — City & Suburban News-Herald

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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com