The future of the Aurora Election Commission may be in jeopardy, even as it prepares to oversee its portion of Tuesday’s primary. Critics say the 78-year-old independent election body is becoming increasingly costly to operate and may be an unnecessary unit of government. In short, they say, its time may have passed. “The Aurora Election Commission was (created) in a day when you would have to go to the county seat to vote, which would have been arduous for a lot of people,” said Carie Anne Ergo, chief management officer in Aurora Mayor Tom Weisner’s office. But now, she said, “the mayor thinks there’s a better and cheaper alternative to providing election services.”
Finding that alternative would involve asking voters via referendum whether the commission should be disbanded. But exactly when such a question may appear on a ballot is unclear. The state statute that allows cities to form election commissions makes it difficult to eliminate them. Aurora Election Commission attorney Pat Bond said anyone who wants to do away with the panel will face an extremely difficult task.
The Aurora Election Commission was created by referendum in 1934. It’s one of only a handful of municipal election commissions in Illinois; others are in Bloomington, Chicago, Danville, East St. Louis, Galesburg, Peoria and Rockford.