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Local Election

Voters’ voices heard

New sheriff emerges; school referendum rejected in Batavia

Kane County Sheriff-elect Donald Kramer said his win Tuesday was the result of hard work by volunteers and receiving good campaign advice.

Unofficial results indicated that Kramer, a Republican, received 74,221 votes to Democratic rival Willie Mayes’ 44,477. The race was among several key decisions residents faced on the ballot.

In Batavia School District 101, the resounding defeat of the $15 million referendum – 8,017 no votes to 2,814 yes votes – solidified opponents’ stand against the possibility of increasing their property taxes.

Select voters in the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District rejected disconnection and transfer to the Fox River and Countryside Fire/Rescue District, with 1,292 no votes to 443 yes votes, also according to unofficial results.

Tuesday’s wins and losses are paired with a voter turnout of 46.61 percent, which was lower than in previous years, according to the Kane County Clerk’s website.

Kane County Director of Elections Suzanne Fahnestock said there were 227,725 registered voters, and 106,141 ballots were cast, including 26,137 early votes.

In the 2010 mid-term election, there were 260,429 registered voters and 129,050 votes cast for a turnout of 49.55 percent, according to records on the county clerk’s website.

“I really can’t say why,” Fahnestock said. “Because we do our part, for sure.”

Kane County voting numbers lagged, she said, because of new laws extending the grace period to register and vote. She said the county had five such polling locations, and some did not finish until 8:45 p.m. Tuesday.

The clerk’s office did not tally any results until all the votes were cast, she said.

• • •

Kramer will begin his first term as sheriff Dec. 1. He credited his win to his campaign team – and learning from his loss to current Sheriff Pat Perez four years ago.

“I did not make the same mistakes,” Kramer said. “I did a good job of connecting with the community and voters by going door-to-door. I had wonderful volunteers who got me great sign locations, went marching in the parades. Every little bit counts, and I did all the right things. When you have a great game plan, the outcome is going to be solid.”

The biggest change in the sheriff’s office will be how service is delivered, Kramer said.

“I am a big proponent of a leadership model called ‘servant leadership,’ ” Kramer said. “One of the Rotary slogans is ‘service above self.’ It has to float down from the managers. It requires a different culture at the sheriff’s office, not top-down and very authority-driven.”

Kramer said a top-down authority model creates workers who cannot make decisions on their own and are always waiting for their boss to tell them what to do.

“When you’re making life-and-death decisions, you have to be confident in making the right decisions based on good training,” Kramer said. “You can’t go wrong when you treat people ethically.”

• • •

In Batavia School District 101, the resounding defeat of the $15 million referendum – 72 percent no to 25 percent yes – solidified opponents’ stand against the possibility of increasing their property taxes.

Sylvia Keppel was against the Batavia school measure.

“We thought it would be closer,” Keppel said. “Obviously, the people of Batavia are not happy with the way the school district is spending our money. ... It was an overwhelming defeat. This is not a popular idea.”

Lisa Farley, a supporter of the referendum, said voters were turned off by what they perceived as a tax increase.

“I thought that the message was not clearly explained,” Farley said.

Know more

Election turnout comparison

Nov. 4, 2014:

227,725 registered voters

106,116 votes cast - 46.61 percent

Nov. 7, 2006:

202,680 registered voters

98,285 votes cast - 48.49 percent

Nov. 5, 2002:

222,188 registered voters

109,331 votes cast - 49.21 percent

Nov. 3, 1998:

188,596 registered voters

91,059 votes cast - 48.28 percent

Source: Kane County clerk’s website

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