Proposal could eliminate pay for DuPage election panel
Two state lawmakers from DuPage are proposing legislation to eliminate the $27,500 annual salary paid to members of the county's board of election commissioners.
State Rep. David Olsen, a Downers Grove Republican, said the proposal calls for county election commissioners to serve in an unpaid capacity. The only counties in the state with an election board are DuPage and Peoria.
"There's been a lot of talk about creating cost savings at the (DuPage) Election Commission," Olsen said. "Here's an easy way to save money. We could have the board be a volunteer board similar to school boards, community college boards and other boards where it's about public service."
The measure is being co-sponsored by state Rep. Jeanne Ives, a Wheaton Republican.
Olsen said a resident suggested the idea after DuPage officials unveiled a plan to ask the state to return election oversight power to the county clerk's office by merging it with the election commission.
Under DuPage's proposal, the commission would become a division of the clerk's office. In addition, a five-member board of election commissioners would be created to set policy, hold meetings and receive public comment. The county clerk would serve as the panel's chairman.
Supporters say the plan maintains the election commission board, which currently has three seats and must have representatives from both major political parties. Republicans hold two of the three seats.
However, some have criticized increasing the election commission board to five members, in part, because of how much they're paid.
Olsen said he believes the proposals to expand DuPage's election commission board and make the positions unpaid "can align very nicely."
"The idea of having bipartisan oversight of the election process is a really commendable one," Olsen said. "But I think that lends itself even more strongly to this type of model where these are citizens who are passionate and care about the election process."
Having unpaid board members, Olsen said, helps ensure they're "serving for the right reasons, which is to serve the people and ensure the election process is carried out properly."