Aurora Election Commission could be on chopping block in March vote

  • Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen supports a referendum asking voters in Aurora to disband the Aurora Election Commission.

    Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen supports a referendum asking voters in Aurora to disband the Aurora Election Commission. James Fuller | Staff Photographer

Updated 12/19/2017 3:42 PM

Aurora voters may get to decide in March to disband the Aurora Election Commission and turn its duties over to the clerks of Kane, Will and Kendall counties.

A group of residents, including Kane County Board Chairman Chris Lauzen, submitted petitions Dec. 15 to Kane County Circuit Court Judge David Akemann.


Akemann will hear any objections to the petitions Jan. 4, and will rule by Jan. 11 on their validity.

Lauzen was one of about 36 people who collected more than 1,000 signatures.

"This issue ought to be decided by the voters in Aurora, of which I am one. I am in favor of efficient delivery of services as long as the quality standards remain high. It's not my intention to criticize the Aurora Election Commission, but let's get this structured properly," Lauzen said Tuesday.

Lauzen said it would likely add up to $250,000 in costs for Kane County to take over the election duties in its portion. He said any idea that those added costs would fuel a Kane County tax increase aren't supported by the recent history of the county board.

"We have demonstrated the past seven years that we have a frozen property tax levy," Lauzen said. "I don't anticipate we would increase tax levies. But if the voters decide elections should be run from the county, I believe (Kane County Clerk) Jack Cunningham would make sure the quality of the service is high."

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The Aurora Election Commission serves the residents of Aurora who live in Kane, Kendall and Will counties. Those who live on the DuPage County side of town are handled by the DuPage County Election Commission.

The city and Kane County fund the commission's nearly $1 million budget.

The Aurora City Council adopted a resolution supporting the referendum in October. In 2010, the city submitted a request for a referendum to the election commission, but the commission refused to put it on the ballot, saying such an effort needed to be initiated by residents.

In October, Cunningham said his office could open a satellite office in Aurora if the commission is disbanded to alleviate concerns about disenfranchising voters. Cunningham, who lives in Aurora, favors getting rid of the commission. He said his office can handle the election duties for less money.

Propositions elsewhere

The Aurora question is one of several petition-induced referendums on the ballot in Kane County March 20.

Monday was the deadline for people to file paperwork for such requests.


• Retired Rutland Dundee Fire Protection District Chief Rollyn Anderson is one of the organizers behind an effort to have the trustees of the district elected, rather than appointed by the Kane County Board chairman. After his retirement in 2005 Anderson was appointed to the board, and served until May of this year.

• Residents of Lily Lake will decide whether the village clerk should be elected rather than appointed.

Mark Lindborg is listed as the principal proponent of the proposition, and the petitions were circulated by resident Mike Carlson.

Carlson ran unsuccessfully for village president in 2015 against Jesse Heffernan. Heffernan resigned in January 2016 when she moved, and was then appointed as clerk.

Other referendums

Local governments have until Jan. 2 to adopt resolutions or ordinances to have referendums March 20.

Geneva voters will decide whether to increase the city's portion of the sales tax.

In the Pingree Grove and Countryside Fire Protection District, voters will be asked whether the district should build two fire stations, and borrow $8.5 million to do so.

Hampshire Fire Protection District voters are being asked to institute a 10-cent tax for an emergency and rescue fund. The owner of a $200,000 home would pay an additional $66 a year, according to the district's estimates.

Voters rejected a similar proposal in April.

The Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District plans to ask voters for a tax increase in March, but has not filed paperwork with the clerk.

• Daily Herald staff writers James Fuller and Lauren Rohr contributed to this story.

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