Dubin should apologize to Republicans

By Nick Arhos

Last week, we witnessed what many perceived as being a savage and politically-motivated attack against the College Republicans and Eric Johnson, NIU student trustee and Illinois College Republican Federation chairman, by local Democratic politicians.

On Sept. 17, the Northern Star reported the CRs and Johnson had allegedly violated voter registration law by supposedly instructing College Republicans at a meeting to refuse to provide a voter registration form to a Democrat, if one was requested.

Eileen Dubin, DeKalb County Democratic Central Committee chair, was quoted as saying that the CRs’ actions, as well as Johnson’s, were “illegal.”

But before coming to such a conclusion, it is important to set the record straight.

Now, I was at the CR meeting and neither saw nor heard any scheming of the sort that was reported to occur.

And if I had, I would have been the first one to confront the CRs about it.

I asked CR Chairman Andrew Nelms about the allegations.

“None of our members have ever refused to register a single person,” he said. “We encourage all students to vote.”

As for the documents distributed to the CRs, they were simply surveys with a final question asking whether the person was registered to vote.

If the person completed the entire survey, then the College Republican would give that person a “motor-voter” registration form (a form available on the Internet to anyone). They would not register that person as a registrar would at that very moment.

The motor-voter form then could be filled out and sent via mail at any time by the recipient.

Remember, most CRs are not registrars like Dubin; they simply passed out forms that anyone can get online.

Nelms has no question about the legality of the CRs’ actions.

“The College Republican National Committee has vetted this program … it’s their initiative, and we’re simply implementing it.”

On top of these accusations, Dubin questioned what Johnson would do in the future if no action was taken now, while praising the College Democrats and their registration practices.

“Neither the County Clerk’s office nor the States Attorney’s office will investigate this because they have no grounds for an investigation,” Johnson said.

I asked DeKalb County Clerk Sharon Holmes if anything was done illegally.

Her response? “Not that I’m aware of,” Holmes said. “It’s all hearsay. As far as I know, no one was denied the right to vote. There’s nothing there.”

I asked Johnson if he felt Dubin should make a public apology to the CRs and to him for what seemed to be an attempt at defamation as well as what Johnson described as “an unwarranted character attack.”

“I don’t expect an apology, but I would like to see one,” Johnson said.

My friends, after having carefully examined the facts, I tend to agree.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.