Vote to disband DuPage election commission could be delayed
DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin says he's prepared to have the panel vote this month to merge the county clerk's office with the much-troubled election commission.
But the Elmhurst Republican first wants newly elected County Clerk Jean Kaczmarek to sign off on the plan.
"I'm waiting for some direction from the clerk," Cronin said Wednesday. "I think it makes all the sense in the world to do it on (Jan. 15). I don't see any obstacle, but I want to work with the clerk. I want to get this right."
The clerk's office hasn't overseen an election in DuPage since the county election commission was formed in the early 1970s. But county board members got state law changed to allow them to dissolve the commission and return its functions to the clerk's office.
With that state law change taking effect this week, the county board's vote to disband the commission was expected to happen on Jan. 15.
Now it's unclear if the vote will occur on that day. And even if it does, the transition may not begin immediately.
"The details have not been worked out yet," said Kaczmarek, a Glen Ellyn Democrat.
Cronin said he and Kaczmarek had "a real productive" meeting on Dec. 11. But that's the last time they talked about the merger plan.
"I know what I want to do," Cronin said. "I just don't know what the clerk wants to do. And I want us to work together."
Cronin said he would like the transition to happen as soon as possible. After all, county board members sought the state law change because there had been serious problems during previous elections.
Even Kaczmarek has been publicly calling for the merger since 2013.
But before she was elected county clerk in November, she said the changeover should take place after the April election. At the time, Kaczmarek said one reason to support a delay is work on the April election had already begun.
On Wednesday, Kaczmarek wouldn't say if her position has changed.
If Kaczmarek wants the vote delayed, Cronin said, he's hoping she will let him know sometime next week.
The clerk's office sends property tax bills and handles other documents such as birth certificates, marriage licenses and death certificates. It was stripped of its election oversight power in 1973 to create the election commission.