DuPage County voters soon will weigh in on a proposal to disband the county election commission and return its responsibilities to the clerk’s office.
County board members on Tuesday agreed to put an advisory referendum question about the issue on the March primary ballot. The decision comes after state lawmakers failed to act on legislation to merge the commission with the county clerk’s office and create a new panel to provide bipartisan oversight of elections.
“Let’s just go to a full-fledged consolidation,” county board Chairman Dan Cronin said after the vote. “Fold it into the clerk’s office.”
Election oversight power was stripped from the clerk’s office in the early 1970s to create the election commission. Cronin said he’s hoping DuPage voters overwhelmingly support the nonbinding ballot question to dissolve the commission.
“We want to professionalize and increase the competency and performance of this operation,” he said. “Folding it into the clerk’s office, we think, offers us that opportunity.”
County officials estimate 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.