DuPage judge to decide fate of four referendums
DuPage County Election Commission officials plan to ask a judge to allow the results of four November referendum questions to stand, despite a clerical error that jeopardizes their success.
Commission attorney Pat Bond said officials will seek a judicial declaration before the end of the year for successful referendum questions by Bloomingdale Park District; Helen M. Plum Memorial Public Library in Lombard; Salt Creek Elementary District 48 in Villa Park and Elmhurst; and Hinsdale Elementary District 181.
The four taxing districts successfully asked voters for more money during the Nov. 8 election. But officials last week discovered the public was notified about the ballot questions three days earlier than permitted by law.
"What we're looking at doing is going into court ... and seeing if we can demonstrate to the judge that more notice was provided than is required," Bond said.
Election officials hope the judge will agree and declare the referendum results valid.
The park district in Bloomingdale won voter approval to borrow $9.9 million to repair and improve three facilities.
Voters gave District 181 permission to borrow $53 million to build a new school.
District 48 was given the OK to borrow $8 million to repair three schools -- Salt Creek Primary in Elmhurst, Stella May Swartz in Oakbrook Terrace and Albright Middle School in Villa Park.
Lombard voters, meanwhile, approved a property tax increase to replace their library with a new one.
Problems developed, however, when bond attorneys working with several of the taxing districts raised concerns because local newspapers published notifications about the ballot questions 33 days before the election.
By law, the notices must be published no more than 30 days and not less than 10 days before an election.
In this case, it appears a mistake was made by election commission employees responsible for getting notices to the newspapers.
"I think staff wanted to make sure they didn't blow a deadline, so they just shipped them out," Bond said.
While notices appeared early in the newspapers, Bond said they appeared fine on the election commission website and other locations.
"There was no harm to the public," Bond said. "They had ample notice."