Official: St. Clair County not under jurisdiction of Cook County 'Con-Con' ruling

Ann Knef Oct. 22, 2008, 5:46am

St. Clair County Clerk Bob Delaney indicated his office will only partially comply with a Cook County judge's order to inform voters about misinformation on the "Con-Con" ballot referendum.

"We're not under the jurisdiction of a Cook County judge," Delaney said on Wednesday.

A controversy arose weeks ago after ballots were certified with inaccurate language stating that not voting on the constitutional convention referendum amounts to a "no" vote.

Lawsuits were then filed in Chicago. Cook County Circuit Judge Nathaniel Howse Jr. ordered election officials to print notices directing voters to disregard some information on the ballot that deals with the ballot question on whether Illinois should hold a constitutional convention.

Although Howse is a Cook County judge, Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn has said his decision is binding statewide.

Delaney said the only measure his office will take to notify voters will be to post corrective notices at polling places.

Howse's order, however, requires election officials to distribute corrective notices to each voter.

Delaney said it was an oversight that the notice was not posted at satellite polling places where early voting has been under way since last week.

On Tuesday, an election judge at Southwestern Illinois College in Belleville said he had been instructed not to distribute corrective notices based on an opinion from the state attorney general, an opinion which he said was backed up by St. Clair County State's Attorney Bob Haida.

A spokesperson for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Tuesday it is "absolutely not true" that the AG issued an opinion to disregard Howse's order.

"The State Board of Elections has advised all election authorities to comply with the judge's order," said spokeswoman Robyn Ziegler.

Haida has not returned a phone call for comment.

Delaney said he did not know why one of his election workers would incorrectly tell a voter that the attorney general issued an opinion on the matter.

In the meantime, in Madison County a reporter observed corrective notices being handed to voters.

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