A plan to consolidate voting precincts in St. Clair County could save $300,000 during a two-year election cycle. St. Clair County Board members Frank Heiligenstein, a Democrat of Freeburg, and David Tiedemann, a Republican of Shiloh, are pushing to combine the county’s voting precincts with the fewest voters. State law recommends voting precincts should have between 500 and 800 voters per precinct. The county has 40 voting precincts with fewer than 500 voters. “If we follow logic and common sense, we could eliminate 65 precincts,” Heiligenstein said, noting he believes each precinct should have about 1,200 voters. St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said county officials are working to consolidate precincts that fall significantly below the required 500 voter level and the county should adhere to all applicable law when consolidating precincts.
Heiligenstein believes the county could reduce the county’s 205 voting precincts to 140 precincts. Doing so would save thousands of dollars per precinct — most of the cost stems from paying up to five election judges $200 each per election, according to Heiligenstein.
Heiligenstein said the next step in the process is dependent upon Kern directing county staff to determine the legal description of the precincts’ boundaries — which the County Board needs to approve. Unless the process is started soon, Heiligenstein said the revised precincts will not be ready until after the March 2016 elections.
Kern said county staff will be able to complete the process in time, just as they did in 2011 when County Board districts were redrawn. “As proven during the County Board redistricting process, our GIS Department is well equipped to provide updated legal descriptions, should they be necessary, in a timely fashion and we should have no problem completing the precincts in time for the 2016 elections,” Kern said.