A yet-to-be-formed countywide election commission, approved by voters last fall, was supposed to have nearly a year before its first election. Not anymore. When Aaron Schock announced he was resigning from his seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, that triggered a 120-day window for an election to replace the four-term Peoria Republican. And the first election, a primary, will likely occur earlier. Gov. Bruce Rauner must set a date for the elections within five days of Schock’s resignation, which is effective March 31. And it means Peoria County, already facing a possible budget shortfall next year, has to come up with about $150,000 to pay for the special elections.
First and foremost on the mind of County Clerk Steve Sonnemaker is logistics. With an election in April, he thinks the quickest a primary could occur would be in the first or second week of May. “And that’s pushing it,” he said.
There are also questions about how soon ballots will have to be available, if at all, for military or absentee voters.
Also up in the air is who will administer the election. Before voters approved the merger of the city’s and the county’s election commissions in November, the county took care of its precincts and the city took care of its precincts. Under the new plan, there is to be one commission that operates countywide. Forty-five of the city’s 95 precincts fall within the 18th Congressional District. On the county side, 54 of 74 precincts are in Schock’s old district.