SPRINGFIELD -- A proposal that would take election supervision away from Lake County Clerk Willard Helander and give it to a new five-member board was approved by the Illinois House Thursday and sent to Gov. Pat Quinn for final review.
The idea, which is a small part of a much larger package of election rule changes, has sparked a political battle in Lake County.
"This is political," said state Rep. Ed Sullivan, a Mundelein Republican. "It is political for one person who denies it. Nobody in the Senate other than one person voted for this, and I don't think you are going to have anyone from Lake County vote for this now."
State Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat and chairman of the Lake County party, has denied he came up with the plan.
"I know I'm getting blamed for it," Link said Wednesday. "But I'm used to that."
Helander is a Republican.
Usually, voters are allowed to weigh in on whether to set up an elections board.
"This really appears to be a political score being settled at the expense of the voters," said state Rep. JoAnn Osmond, an Antioch Republican.
The overall proposal includes provisions that would allow for online voting registration, and the fate of the legislation is now up to Quinn.
If it becomes law, the county is supposed to make the change in 90 days.