State Reps. David Olsen, R-Downers Grove, and Jeanne Ives, R-Wheaton, have sponsored a bill that would amend the Election Code so that election commissioners will serve in an unpaid capacity.
This bill would eliminate the $27,500 annual salary paid to the DuPage County Election Commission.
Olsen said the initiative was actually brought forward by a constituent in DuPage County. The constituent thought the pay was disproportionate compared to other elected boards.
“I thought it would be worthwhile to put that idea forward and include it in the conversation,” he said. “I want to make sure the Election Commission is as responsive as possible to the people of DuPage County.”
He said he wanted people to serve on the Election Commission because they care about elections in DuPage County being conducted fairly.
“Ultimately, we are trying to ensure that people are on this board for the right reasons,” Olsen said.
The DuPage Election Commission is also currently considering a consolidation of the county clerk’s office and the Election Commission. This was proposed in December 2016 by County Board Chairman Dan Cronin as an attempt to eliminate an unnecessary layer of government.
According to the Election Commission’s website, this new model will increase the efficiency, transparency and accountability of elections in DuPage County.
In the rest of the state, the elected county clerk usually serves as the election authority, although there is one other county commission in Peoria County.
The consolidation would expand the board from three to five members and include two representatives from each major political party.
Olsen said his bill and the consolidation “align very well.”
“My concern with any consolidation is that it makes sense and it has to save money,” he said.
He added the state is in too challenging of a situation, and reforms need to be effective and save taxpayers money.
If the consolidation moves forward, legislation will be finalized and introduced in February for the spring 2017 session. It could then be adopted and signed by Sept. 1, and the County Board could adopt it Dec. 1.