Former governor and Illinois attorney General candidate Pat Quinn, who was defeated in the primary by Kwame Raoul, holds up his ballot for the press after he finished voting March 20, 2018, in Chicago. (Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
By Rod Kackley
State Rep. Jeanne Ives wasn’t able to unseat Gov. Bruce Rauner in the Illinois GOP gubernatorial primary Tuesday. But as the rebellious Republican told her supporters in suburban Chicago, “It was still one of the most historic nights ever in the state of Illinois.”
“Today, the popular vote against the political ruling class fell just a bit short. But I will tell you, we are very proud of the effort that we have made in this campaign,” Ives said as she conceded the election to Rauner.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Rauner won the primary by only 3.4 percentage points. If Ives had been victorious, Rauner would have become the first Illinois governor in over four decades to be kicked out of office by his party’s voters.
“This is an insurgent campaign that started less than five months ago, and to come this close to taking out the worst Republican governor in America is phenomenal,” Ives said.
Ives, as PJM reported, lampooned Rauner during the campaign with an ad that included a man wearing a dress thanking the Illinois governor for “signing legislation that allows me to use the girls’ bathroom.”
A woman in the same ad thanked Rauner for forcing Illinois families to “pay for my abortion.”
But she lost. So now Ives returns to the Illinois legislature where she has promised to rally her troops to take aim at Chicago’s most powerful Democrat, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and the Windy City law that, Ives said, allows illegal aliens to vote in public elections.
Standing beside her will be the only Chicago alderman with an (R) beside his name, Republican Anthony Napolitano.
During a joint press conference March 8, Ives and Napolitano warned that Chicago’s “CityKey” ID card, which municipal officials said was intended to give immigrants the paperwork needed to take advantage of social services, could be used to open voting booths to illegal aliens.
Ives pointed out what she sees as the hypocrisy of Democrats worrying about Russia’s influence in the 2016 election, while at the same time trying to “encourage such illegality when it comes to local elections.”
“Their hypocrisy is breathtaking. Accepting the CityKey as a legitimate form of identification for voter registration is literally suborning voter fraud. And the political class in the sanctuary city of Chicago is brazen about this fact,” Ives added.
“Documenting undocumented people” would “change elections,” Napolitano said before he also pointed out that he is the son of an immigrant.
“(It would) change elections in Chicago. Change elections in the state of Illinois … to entice or encourage people to go register to vote who are illegal immigrants,” he said.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights said in a statement to Capitol Fax that the CityKey ID card is actually intended to help all Chicago residents who might not have any other valid government-issued identification, like a driver’s license.
“When people register to vote, they need to attest that they are U.S. citizens. If noncitizens incorrectly or falsely register, they are subject not only to state criminal penalties for the improper registration but also to immigration consequences, including unwaivable lifetime bars on legal status and deportation,” the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights statement read.
The coalition also noted that “immigrants who are not yet citizens generally know that they cannot register to vote in U.S. elections.”
However, if Ives and Napolitano are unsuccessful, Illinois State Board of Election spokesman Matt Dietrich told the Illinois News Network the final decision on whether CityKey cards could be used for voter registration would be left up to local elections officials or, in effect, Chicago City Hall.
“They’re the ones who actually handle the registration, the checking of IDs, and keeping the documentation. We maintain an electronic database of voter registrations that we get from them,” said Dietrich.
“I believe, from what I’ve read, the Chicago municipal ID would live up to the qualifications under state statute for what a government-issued ID is,” Dietrich added. “So that would be a legal form of ID for the board of elections to accept.”
Jim Allen, the Chicago Election Board spokesman, said that Illinois’ voter law does require the city to accept government-issued identification, like the Chicago CityKey. But Allen also said election board officials didn’t want the CityKey sold to illegal aliens as “something to use to register to vote.”
Allen added “non-citizens” who register to vote are “gonna be deported.”
As for Mayor Emanuel, who has declared Chicago to be a “Trump-free zone,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times Ives “should take her Trump rhetoric out of the city.”