Lake County lawmakers trying to repeal election commission

Republican state lawmakers that represent Lake County will try to repeal the controversial law that creates a new election authority there.

State Rep. David McSweeney of Barrington Hills and state Sen. Pamela Althoff of McHenry have introduced legislation to repeal the new commission, which was created as part of a sweeping package of elections rule changes that became law last month.

Local officials have decried that the new authority would take oversight away from Republican Lake County Clerk Willard Helander without approval from local voters. Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor has challenged the law in court.

“Springfield politicians will stop at nothing to further consolidate power,” McSweeney said in a statement. “This new law is nonsense and allows for more unnecessary spending.”

State Sen. Dan Duffy of Lake Barrington and Reps. Ed Sullivan of Mundelein, JoAnn Osmond of Antioch and Barbara Wheeler of Crystal Lake, all Republicans, have signed on as supporters. Democratic state Rep. Scott Drury of Highwood has signed on, too.

The law requires Lake County's chief judge to appoint members to the new election commission within 90 days. Lawmakers aren't scheduled to meet in Springfield again until October and wouldn't be able to act on this legislation until then. But they might return to the Capitol sooner if a deal is cut in the ongoing debate over pension reform.

Gov. Pat Quinn signed the controversial law because it also allows people to register to vote online. The Lake County provision was just two paragraphs in the lengthy legislation.

State Sen. Terry Link, a Waukegan Democrat and leader of the Lake County Democratic Party, was the only Lake County lawmaker to vote for the plan in May. He has denied getting the idea put into the broader package, so its origins remain unclear.

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