Posts tagged Libertarian
Posts tagged Libertarian
“Laws are like cobwebs, which may catch small flies, but let wasps and hornets break through.” - Jonathan Swift— Mike Billy (@MikeBilly)
Check any dictionary and the definition of “majority” seems pretty self-explanatory: it is simply a greater quantity or share.
But in the city of Macomb that definition is under dispute. On Monday, April 8, a judge will rule on what the definition of a majority is when it comes to elections: simply having the most votes or the most plus one more.
This debate started back in February during an alderman race between Western Illinois University student Steven Wailand and incumbent Kay Hill. When the votes were tallied, Wailand received 17 votes – Hill got 16.
Wailand thought that his 52 percent of the vote was enough to win the seat, but the city disagreed and instead scheduled a special election to determine the winner.
Wailand’s lawyers then filed a lawsuit on Wailand’s behalf to stop the city from proceeding with the new election. A hearing was held on Thursday to determine if the election should take place. The judge did not make a ruling at the Thursday hearing. Instead, he postponed the hearing until Monday, because he said that Hill should be named as a party to the case.
“Steven Wailand went to bed that night thinking he had won the election and other people had been congratulating him,” said Diane Cohen, who is Wailand’s lawyer and general counsel for the Liberty Justice Center, at a news conference after Thursday’s hearing. “When he woke up that morning he read in the paper that the city was saying, ‘not so fast, we have a different definition of majority. You are not the winner and we are going to subject you to another election.’”
Macomb’s city code is plain: A candidate “receiving a majority of the votes cast” is the winner. But city officials’ interpretation of this definition don’t match up.
When Wailand asked Macomb City Clerk Melanie Falk why he would not be certified as an alderman, she said it was because he did not receive a majority of the votes, which she said the city and county define as “fifty percent plus one vote of the votes cast in an election,” according to the lawsuit.
Using that definition, Wailand did not receive enough votes. There were 33 votes cast. Under the city’s alleged definition, Wailand would have needed 17.5 votes to win the election. His 17 votes were half a vote short.
The problem, according Cohen, is that the “50 percent plus one” rule appears nowhere in the city statutes, and the municipal code requires that words should be defined by their common usage.
“You can scour the Illinois election code, the Illinois municipal code, the city of Macomb special charter from the 1800s, the city of Macomb ordinances and you will not find any reference to any term that says 50 percent plus one vote [is a majority],” Cohen said at the news conference.
Cohen also said that the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled that a majority is “a number more than half.”
By that definition and similar definitions found in the Merriam-Webster dictionary and other reference books cited in the lawsuit, Wailand should be declared the winner unless the city code officially defines a majority in a different way.
According to the lawsuit, there is no other definition of majority found in the code.
When Wailand asked to be shown where he could find the “50 percent plus one” rule in the statutes McDonough County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes was unable to do so and told him, “That’s how we have always done it,” according to the lawsuit.
DeJaynes refused to comment. The mayor’s office and city clerk’s office did not return multiple calls requesting comment.
The next hearing will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, April 8, one day prior to the special election’s scheduled date.
I demand a right to beer arms!
In which I’m quoted in a Daily Caller about energy drink regulations in Illinois:
Caffeine was likely dropped from the bill in order to make it more popular, wrote Mike Billy, a reporter for the Illinois News Network.
“I think the legislators knew the bill would never pass if they included caffeine in the definition because caffeine is too popular and people would realize just how ridiculous the regulation is,” Billy wrote in an email to The DC News Foundation. “A server at a restaurant would have to check the age of anyone buying a soft drink.”
But practical considerations aside, permitting caffeine while banning taurine makes little scientific sense, he said.
“Caffeine actually has health risks and there have been no reports of negative health effects associated with taurine, guarana and ginseng in the amounts found in energy drinks,” he wrote. “It’s an arbitrary way to define an energy drink without any regard to science and it accomplishes nothing.”
Read the whole thing here.
Check out this graph (via The Cato Institute) of what the sequester cuts actually look like. Notice how spending is still increasing. So next time you hear that the budget is being slashed to death by Michael Myers-esque Republicans in a Capitol Hill rendition of an 80s horror flick you can can look at whoever is saying that and laugh. Unlike the airheaded blonde in those movies who always makes the dumbest decisions, the country will survive.
“Under Democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed and are right…” - H. L. Mencken