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updated: 2/6/2012 5:59 AM

10th District: Inconsistencies found in voting records

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  • John Tree

      John Tree

  • Brad Schneider

      Brad Schneider

  • Vivek Bavda

      Vivek Bavda

  • Ilya Sheyman

      Ilya Sheyman

  • Bob Dold

      Bob Dold

 
 

One of the four Democratic candidates for the 10th Congressional District seat has only voted twice since registering in Lake County in 2006, a review of public records showed.

Long Grove resident John Tree voted in the 2008 and 2010 general elections, according to voter data the Daily Herald requested from the Lake County clerk's office. Tree didn't vote in the primary elections in either of those years, and he has not voted in local consolidated elections here since 2006, the records indicate.

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Tree attributed the lack of primary or local ballots to his decades of military service -- he's a colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve -- and a resulting desire to remain nonpartisan until he ran for office.

Tree isn't the only Democrat in the race with an inconsistent voting record.

Deerfield Democrat Brad Schneider broke with his party and pulled a Republican primary ballot in 2000, voting records revealed.

A campaign manager said Schneider voted Republican that election to support a friend running in a GOP primary.

County clerk records also indicate Schneider pulled a GOP ballot in the 2002 primary. Schneider disputed that and will work to correct the record, his campaign said.

The other Democrats running for the 10th District seat are Vivek Bavda of Mundelein and Ilya Sheyman of Waukegan. All four are first-time candidates.

The winner of the March 20 primary will face incumbent U.S. Rep. Robert Dold, a Kenilworth Republican, in November's general election.

Some voter data is public under Illinois law. Available records don't indicate what candidates or issues someone supported, but they do show if someone voted and, in a primary election, whether they used a Democratic or Republican ballot.

Tree, 45, is a Utah-born business executive who graduated from the Air Force Academy and served on active duty until 1997. He now works at the Pentagon when called to duty as a reservist.

Tree said he's opted not to vote in primary elections because he follows "an unwritten code to preserve the military's nonpartisan nature," campaign field director Stacy Raker said.

Many military officers skip primary elections, Raker said.

Tree said he hasn't voted in local elections for the same reason.

"That said, I do not believe that this military culture is ideal, and I want to shine a spotlight on this issue of voter participation to everyone, in and out of the military, to raise their level of involvement and encourage more citizens to vote in all elections," Tree said in an email.

Before moving to Lake County, Tree lived in suburban Elmhurst; Battle Creek, Mich.; Loveland, Ohio; and Chanhassen, Minn.

Elmhurst is in DuPage and Cook County. Clerk's officials in those counties had no record of Tree voting between 2001 and 2006, the years his campaign said he lived there. He voted in June 2000 and November 2000 in Michigan, records show.

Tree's voting records from Ohio and Minnesota were not immediately available.

Schneider, a 50-year-old management consultant and small business owner originally from Denver, registered to vote in Lake County in 1992. He has voted 18 times since then.

He requested Democratic ballots in the 1994, 2004, 2006, 2008 and 2010 primaries, his voter records indicate, and GOP ballots in the 2000 and 2002 primaries.

In 2000, Schneider got a Republican primary ballot to vote for longtime friend Andrew Hochberg, who ran for Congress that year, losing the GOP nomination to now Sen. Mark Kirk.

Schneider's campaign manager, Jarrod Backous, accurately pointed out that Schneider has voted in more 10th District Democratic primaries -- five -- than any other candidate in the race.

"Brad's a solid progressive who wants to reconnect government with middle-class families, protect a woman's right to choose and preserve our environment," Backous said in an emailed statement.

Bavda, a 34-year-old Ohio-born attorney, first voted in Lake County in the 1996 general election, when he was 19. Records indicate he has voted 13 times and pulled Democratic ballots in the 2000, 2006, 2008 and 2010 primary elections.

Bavda said he didn't vote in the 2002 general election because he was too ill to go to a polling place. He didn't recall missing the 2002 or 2004 primaries.

Sheyman, 25, is a Moscow native who immigrated with his family and became a U.S. citizen in 1996 when he was 10 years old. He first voted in the 2004 general election when he was 18, according to his campaign.

Sheyman, who works as a community organizer, voted Democratic in the 2006 primary in Lake County and also voted in the 2006 general election, records show.

He voted in Vermont in 2008's primary and general elections and in Oregon in 2010 while living in those states, a campaign spokeswoman said. After returning to Illinois, he voted in the 2011 local consolidated election in Lake County, public records indicate.

He pulled Democratic ballots for every primary, records indicate.

Dold is running unopposed in the GOP primary.

He began voting in 1994, Cook County records show. He hasn't missed a general election since then.

Dold first voted in a primary election in 2000, records show. He has voted in every one since then, pulling GOP ballots every time.

As for consolidated local elections, Dold only cast ballots in 2007 and 2009, records show.

The 10th District includes parts of Lake and Cook counties.

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