Cronin: Rauner will sign measure to disband DuPage County election commission

Updated 7/17/2018 1:22 PM
  • Bruce Rauner

    Bruce Rauner

  • Dan Cronin

    Dan Cronin

Gov. Bruce Rauner will come to Wheaton next week to sign legislation giving DuPage the power to disband its election commission, county board Chairman Dan Cronin said.

Cronin said Rauner is scheduled on Monday to put his signature on legislation amending the Election Code to allow DuPage to dissolve the commission and transfer its functions to the county clerk's office effective Jan. 1.

"I'm thrilled that he's going to sign this bill," Cronin said. "We put a lot of work into this. It finally looks like it's going to come to fruition."

Election oversight power was stripped from the DuPage clerk's office in the early 1970s to create the election commission. The state law that formed the commission required both major political parties be represented on a three-person election panel; Republicans currently hold two of the three seats.

But Cronin said there have been serious problems during the past three elections, including a blunder that delayed results for hours during the March primary.

"It was crystal clear to folks that those elections were not run very well," he said.

Cronin said overseeing elections is one of the most visible functions of county government. Folding the election commission into the clerk's office is a more efficient and accountable system, he said.

Before seeking the state law change, county board members put an advisory referendum question about the issue on the ballot. Roughly 56 percent of voters in March supported the nonbinding ballot question to dissolve the commission.

The Illinois House approved the legislation in April and the state Senate unanimously approved it in May.

The clerk's office sends property tax bills and handles other documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates. It's run by Paul Hinds, a Republican, and has about 18 employees.

The election commission is run by Executive Director Joseph Sobecki and has about 23 employees. It also pays the salaries of the three election commissioners, who each receive $27,500 a year.

It's estimated that consolidating the election commission and the clerk's office could save taxpayers at least $300,000 a year by combining staffs and finding efficiencies.

Cronin said he expected Rauner, a fellow Republican, to support the legislation because the governor has been "a very strong proponent of consolidation."

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