New State Law Allows Clerk’s Offices To Absorb Election Commissions
Apparently, Kane County and the city of Aurora are a little bit ahead of the curve.
Now that Aurora residents passed a March referendum to dissolve the Aurora Election Commission and absorb the election function under county clerk’s offices, the state has passed a law allowing similar moves throughout Illinois.
Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday (July 23, 2018) signed House Bill 5123, allowing affected county clerk’s offices to absorb the functions of their now-separate county election commissions.
The move was hailed by DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin as “good government reform that will save taxpayers money.”
Residents of DuPage County passed an advisory referendum in March stating they wanted their county election commission merged into the county clerk’s office. Officials said the transition is predicted to save $300,000, improve efficiency and streamline election reporting.
House Bill 5123 will enable that consolidation to move forward, and would allow a similar action in Kankakee County, the only other county in Illinois where a separate county election commission presently exists.
“This is another step in the right direction for Illinois,” Rauner said after signing the bill at the DuPage County Administration Building in Wheaton. “We need to continue to root out duplicative layers of government that serve only to burden taxpayers and hinder businesses. I’m pleased to sign this bill and congratulate the leaders, voters and taxpayers of DuPage County.”
DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin welcomed the governor’s action, calling it the culmination of a worthwhile process.
“DuPage County has spent several years to approve this consolidation effort,” said Cronin, a former state legislator. “With the support of voters and help from our DuPage legislators, we have advanced another good government reform that will save taxpayers money. Together with Gov. Rauner, we are setting the standard of a responsible, effective government, one that adapts and innovates the delivery of its services and works on behalf of the people it serves.”
“Nearly every county in Illinois already allows the clerk’s office to handle election responsibilities, so there’s no reason for DuPage County taxpayers to foot the extra bill for an unnecessary commission,” said Rep. Peter Breen, R-Lombard, first chief co-sponsor of the bill. “This bipartisan measure will save DuPage residents money and improve the quality of services they receive. DuPage families keep a careful eye on their budgets and spending, and they deserve a government that will do the same.”
“Illinois has more units of local government than any other state in the country,” noted state Rep. Grant Wehrli, R-Naperville, also a sponsor of the bill. “That’s expensive for taxpayers, and it’s inefficient. This consolidation will not only help us cut costs, it will also help ensure accuracy and continuity in our election reporting process in DuPage County.”
“This is an area where consolidation makes perfect sense,” added Rep. David S. Olsen, R-Downers Grove, a chief co-sponsor. “It’s a model used successfully across the state. In DuPage County, the signing of this new law will lead to a more efficient level of service at a lower cost to taxpayers.”
“Despite nearly all of Illinois operating elections through the county clerk’s office, DuPage County is one of the only counties that uses an election commission,” said Sen. Chris Nybo, R-Elmhurst. “With this consolidation, DuPage County will be able to administer elections cost-effectively and better mitigate any possible errors in the election process. This initiative is long overdue and truly in the best interest of the county and its residents — and we will see immediate benefits.”
“Back when I was serving on the county board, we pushed hard to eliminate duplicative layers of government in a focused effort to reduce waste and increase efficiency in our county government,” said Sen. John Curran, R-Downers Grove. “I’m glad to see this sustainable government policy bring efficiency to another part of county government. As a result, our election process will be streamlined and more financially responsible, so we can save our taxpayers from extra costs.”
“Illinois has an unreasonable amount of units of local government, which plays a significant role in Illinois’ out-of-control tax problem,” said Sen. Michael Connelly, R-Naperville. “Consolidating the DuPage Election Commission into the DuPage County Clerk’s office is one way we can achieve a lower tax burden for our residents, while also providing them with a more efficient election process.”
SOURCE: state of Illinois news release