The Aurora City Council has backed an effort to put a referendum on the March 18 primary ballot asking voters if they want to eliminate the Aurora Election Commission. The 9-3 vote by aldermen this week came after a debate about what authority the city has, the legality of the city’s resolution and just what is or is not voter suppression. In the end, those aldermen supporting the resolution said it simply endorses putting the question on the ballot, giving the voters a chance to vote for or against, without telling them how to vote. “We urge that the voters be able to put the question on the ballot,” said Ald. Robert O’Connor, at large. “The law provided that the voters establish (the commission), and the law provides that the voters must change it, if they want to change it.”
An informal group of citizens has been passing petitions seeking the about 1,000 signatures they would need to put the question on the ballot. If they succeed, state statute mandates that Aurora voters be asked the question: “Shall the City Election Law be Rejected?”
The Election Commission was created by referendum in 1934 and has to be eliminated by referendum.
Pat Bond, the attorney representing the Election Commission, said at this week’s City Council meeting that restraints in the Employee Ethics Act should make the resolution inappropriate. He said in the wording in the resolution, the city “purports to support” elimination of the commission and that was “outside the statutory powers” of the city.