Republican members of the DuPage County Board defended the proposed merging of the county election commission with the office of county clerk’s office in the face of criticism leveled at last week’s board meeting. During public comments made at the Feb. 14 meeting, several people expressed concern over such issues as new election commissioner salaries and the merger provision that allows board Chairman Dan Cronin, a Republican, to nominate the Democrat serving on an expanded five-member election board.
Articles about voting issues in Illinois.
A bill introduced by State Sen. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston) earlier this month would set up a ranked-choice voting system for state elections. The bill, which Biss introduced Feb. 1, would amend the state election code to have ranked-choice voting in elections for the following positions: governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, secretary of state, treasurer and General Assembly member. According to the bill, voting would proceed in rounds, with voters ranking candidates and the last-place candidate being eliminated after each round. When two candidates remain, the candidate with the higher vote total would win.
DuPage County officials said they are fine-tuning a plan to merge their election commission with the county clerk’s office. County clerks manage election operations in Lake and Will counties, and the Cook County suburbs, as well as many other counties in Illinois, but DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin said his merger proposal would preserve bipartisan oversight. “DuPage Election Commission is managed and governed by a bipartisan three-member board, and so I don’t want to simply discard that model. I want to improve that,” she said.
The DuPage Democratic Party chairman says he wants the county to revise its proposal to consolidate the election commission and county clerk’s office to make the move “truly bipartisan.” DuPage officials plan to ask state lawmakers to return election oversight power to the clerk’s office by merging it with the election commission. If approved, the commission would become a division of the clerk’s office. In addition, a five-member board of election commissioners would be created to set policy, hold meetings and receive public comment. The county clerk would serve as the panel’s chairman. Supporters say the plan keeps the election commission board, which currently has three seats and must have representatives from both major political parties. Republicans hold two of the three seats. But Robert Peickert, the DuPage Democratic Party chairman, says he’s concerned about increasing the election commission board to five members because county board Chairman Dan Cronin, a Republican, still would have the power to appoint four of them. “Bipartisan means you have the participation of the Democratic Party, which he has ignored,” Peickert said. “This is not bipartisan.”
A long-gestating piece of DuPage County reform may finally see its day on the voting block in Springfield, as the County Board chairman, clerk and Election Commission have proposed the consolidation of the latter two offices. Chairman Dan Cronin formally introduced the idea during the Dec. 14 board meeting, saying the move could both realize savings for the county as well as keep and expand the appointed, bipartisan Board of Election Commissioners. “When it comes to elections, there’s something very sacred about it,” Cronin said. “We here in DuPage County want to make sure we have the faith and trust and confidence of the public.” The proposal, which will need to be approved by the state legislature, would expand the board from three to five members, including two representatives from each major political party, appointed by the County Board chairman, and the county clerk as chairman.
Illinois: With automatic voter registration bill dead, many eyes turn to GOP alternative | Illinois News Network
After legislation on voting that would have automatically registered people who visit any one of several state agencies could not survive Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto, a Republican state senator’s bill may be the best option. On one of the last scheduled sessions of the year, lawmakers in Springfield didn’t have the votes to override Gov. Bruce Rauner’s veto of a bill that would have automatically added millions to the state’s voter rolls. While Rauner agreed with the concept of the bill, his central objection was that it would have left the state vulnerable to voter fraud. State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said her bill addresses that while still automatically registering voters at agencies such as the DMV. “This bill would give individuals a clear opportunity to opt out of the registration application and would be required at that time to testify by signature that they meet voter registration requirements on the front end,” Rezin said.
Illinois: GOP lawmakers introduce their own automatic-voter registrations bills | Illinois News Network
With the fate of an automatic voter registration bill in question, Republicans in Springfield have filed automatic voter registration legislation, saying theirs would better ensure honest elections. “This bill balances our desire to register to vote along with our need to ensure that only eligible voters are being registered to vote,” State Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, said. Rezin said the biggest difference between her bill and one sponsored by Democrats is that it requires the state to screen citizenship records before automatically registering an individual. “My bill allows that to be done in one step right at the DMV with a person that is signing a sheet promising that all of that information is accurate. This supports voter integrity and lessens the chance that you will have someone in the system who should not be able to vote,” she said.
The Illinois Senate has rejected the governor’s veto of automatic voter registration legislation, however, Sen. Sue Rezin, R-Morris, has proposed an alternative bill. The Senate’s 38-18 vote sends the initial measure to the House to consider when it returns Nov. 29 to Springfield. The bill is SB250. The Legislature adopted the plan in the spring with strong bipartisan support. It would allow visitors to a handful of state agencies to be automatically registered to vote unless they opt out. Rauner vetoed it in August, fearing fraud. He said the plan doesn’t meet federal requirements about a person’s participation in the registration process and puts too much of a burden on the State Board of Elections to verify eligibility. Democratic Sen. Any Manar of Bunker Hill says record-keeping and state automation are advanced enough to prevent mischief.
Lawmakers in Illinois are pushing to override the governor’s veto of a bill aimed at increasing voter registration. That move would automatically register eligible Illinois residents to vote at the time they apply for a driver’s license or state-issued I-D. After receiving overwhelming support from both houses in the spring session, the effort was stopped cold in August when Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner issued a full veto on the bill, forcing lawmakers to either override his veto, or start from scratch. An override would require a three-fifths majority in both houses. A separate, new bill would take at least a year to be drafted and move through the house and senate.
A federal judge has dealt a setback to former Illinois residents who are blocked from voting by absentee ballot in next week’s presidential election because they now live in certain U.S. territories. In a written opinion last week, U.S. District Judge Joan B. Gottschall rejected the argument that the Illinois Military Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act violates the equal protection clause by treating former Illinois voters differently depending on their current residence. Illinois’ MOVE Act bars former state residents living in Puerto Rico, Guam or the U.S. Virgin Islands from voting by Illinois absentee ballot in federal elections, but allows their counterparts in American Samoa and the Northern Mariana Islands to do so. The disparate treatment, Gottschall held, “is rationally related to legitimate state interests.”