DuPage County votes ‘yes’ to consolidate rare unit of local government
The nonbinding referendum to merge DuPage County’s election commission with the clerk’s office won by more than 17,000 votes.
DuPage County voters sent a clear message on election night March 20 when they voted to approve a measure to merge the DuPage County Election Commission with the DuPage County Clerk’s office. With more than 99 percent of the vote in, the “yes” camp won just under 77,000 votes (56.5 percent), while the “no” vote garnered 59,256 votes (43.5 percent).
County election commissions are one of Illinois’ rarest units of local government. Only DuPage and Kankakee counties have county election commissions, and DuPage County officials have estimated the move would save local taxpayers $300,000, according to the Naperville Sun.
It’s also uncertain that DuPage County’s election commission guarantees quality results as hardware problems with the commission’s voting machines delayed the full release of election results from the state primary.
The vote is a nonbinding, advisory referendum and the final say on whether the consolidation will happen is ultimately up to the General Assembly. Though DuPage County created their county election commission in 1973, they cannot legally dissolve the commission unless state law is changed.
A bill introduced in the General Assembly would deal with this problem, but has seen little traction in recent months. Senate Bill 1592, filed by state Sen. Don Harmon, D-Oak Park, passed the Illinois Senate without a single “no” vote, but has remained in the House Rules Committee since May 2017.
DuPage County voters have decided, but the county election commission’s fate now lies with state lawmakers.