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Chicagoan President Obama votes early, but only once

October 27, 2010 |  8:06 am

Democrat president Barack Obama Voting absentee in the Oval Office 10-26-10

How many times do you reckon Barack Obama's absentee ballot will be counted back in Chicago next Tuesday?

The Cook County Democratic Party machine does have an enduring reputation for finding ballot support in unusual places, which helps explain its enduring ruling presence atop the political pinnacle in the Windy City, political birthplace of the United States' 44th president.

Obama, the onetime state senator and South Sider, voted Tuesday, among other things, for the House of Representatives, for governor and for the U.S. Senate seat he once occupied. It must be strange this time to be unable to vote for yourself for a change.

Obama's choice in the tight race is between five-term Republican Rep. Mark Kirk and Democratic state treasurer Alexi Giannoulias. You might not be surprised to learn that Obama voted for Giannoulias, despite the failure of the state treasurer's family's Broadway Bank over bad loans made, among other things, to convicted felons.

The bank's April failure cost the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, meaning Americans, about $394 million. The full FDIC report was due last month, but for some strange reason it will not be released until about 10 days after the Nov. 2 election.

Coincidentally, candidate Giannoulias was a senior loan officer for the failed bank. He has blamed the failure on loans in a depressed economy. And some may recall Obama has previously mentioned whose fault that is.Illinois Republican Senate candidate Mark Kirk, right, and Democrat Alexi Giannoulias, left

The current Senate seat holder is Roland Burris, a party veteran, former comptroller and attorney general who was awarded the vacant chair by Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, whose chair was, in turn, vacated upon his impeachment and removal by the Illinois Legislature after he was charged with a couple dozen federal counts alleging, among other things, extortion, lying, wire fraud and bribery -- in effect, that he conspired to auction off his nomination to the Senate seat.

The Illinois politician awaits a retrial after the jury deadlocked on every charge except one -- lying to federal agents.

Obama's initial White House chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, who used to hold the city's North Side House seat that Blagojevich used to hold, has returned to Chicago to seek the party's nomination to succeed Mayor Richard M. Daley, the son of Mayor Richard J. Daley, who also ruled the city for a long time.

In fact, this winter's mayoral vote is the first open race without an incumbent in 64 years, since 1947, the year before the historic "Dewey Defeats Truman" headline.

Emanuel will face some spirited competition in the Feb. 22 mayoral election to become possibly the city's first Jewish mayor. Obama can also vote absentee in that election. The candidate filing window for the February election is Nov. 15-22.

The city holds its municipal elections at the most inhospitable seasonal times to avoid saving money on loyal poll workers by combining ballot days with federal elections. Wintry February elections also help hold down voter turnout to those obedient Chicagoans who should be voting. If no candidate receives 50% plus 1 of the votes cast, a two-candidate runoff will be held April 5 to allow sufficient recovery time from St. Patrick's Day.

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-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Pete Souza / White House via CBS Radio's Mark Knoller; the respective offices of Rep. Kirk, right, and Giannoulias.