UPDATE: This bill just passed the Senate on party line votes. Most of the debate centered on requests to remove the "Lake County Provision" from Republican Senators Altoff, Duffy and Murphy, which fell on deaf ears.
The bill now moves to the House. Lake County Chairman Aaron Lawlor estimates that this unfunded and completely unnecessary mandate will cost Lake County property taxpayers in excess of $600,000.00.
The "last week" of the legislative session in Springfield is this week. Democrats need to ram through what they want this week because starting on June 1, 2013, votes in excess of a simple majority become the rule, rather than the exception, allowing Republican voices to be heard.
In Springfield, Democrats prefer that Republicans be seen and not heard.
HB 2418, as amended, creates several monstrous changes of our election laws. It allows for electronic voter registration with the County Clerk being required to pull the signature of the registrant from his driver's license at the Secretary of State's Office. You mean a Photo ID? Really? From Democrats no less? And who will pay for this? You local Lake County property owners through increased property taxes. Not Springfield.
It allows for voters to submit their e-mails so that they may be notified of changes in their status as voters. This will allow the free harvesting of e-mails for political parties to bombard voters with solicitations for funding and attack e-mails. It allows voters to change their registration information if they move. It forces large colleges and state universities to create voter registration sites in heavily traveled areas of their campuses. At the expense of the schools, of course. Not Springfield.
It allows for "in person absentee voting" which begs the question, if you are voting in person, how does that make you "absent?"
If voter canvassing reveals a voter to be dead, an e-mail shall be sent to the dead voter's e-mail address with a Notice to Show Cause Why Voter Registration Should be Cancelled. If someone has access to the e-mail of a dead or disabled person? Then what? I had a boyfriend of a client use her e-mail recently to ask questions about a case I was handling for her. Fortunately I called her instead and discovered the boyfriend's ruse.
It allows for provisional voting to be expanded. If a voter casts a provisional ballot in the wrong precinct, the clerk is responsible for transferring that ballot to the correct precinct so that the vote may be counted. It allows for expanded grace periods for voter registration.
And it creates an Electoral Commission for Lake County, Illinois, because everyone in Lake County has been screaming for another expensive layer of government in this field for decades now, or for the past year, or actually, honestly, not at all. The cost of funding a whole new electoral commission, with new executive directors and a slew of employees to carry out the mandates of election laws imposed by Springfield will be placed on the backs of property taxpayers in Lake County. The Commission is to be established within 90 days of enactment. It calls for more "municipal boards of election." It also calls for 2 members to be appointed as Republicans, 2 members as Democrats and one as an independent. In other counties where this expensive election board exists, 2 commission members are appointed from the majority political party, and one from the minority.
Does Lake County have a say in whether or not it wants to increase the cost of local government and pay for it through additional property taxes? Or in this odd appointment process? Do we get to vote for this expensive proposition through an election? A referendum?
Springfield Democrats know best. Lake County has specialized in fast and accurate election returns for years under the stewardship of Lake County Clerk Willard Helander. So take most of it away and place it under yet another governmental body? Just what Illinois needs, more governmental bodies! We lead the nation in governmental bodies right now.
Who appoints these commissioners? Not the county board, but the Lake County Chief Justice. He does answer to the voters. Every 10 years.
How duplicative will the process of running elections in Lake County become? We will have separate administrators paid through the County Clerk's office and from the Election Commission. The Election Commission, like any other state created agency, will come with an Executive Director, a legislative liaison, and a press secretary, all earning in excess of $100,000 annually. They will require office space somewhere in Lake County, separate support staff, computers, computer programming, voting systems. One estimate would be a minimum of $250,000 to $400,000 in additional unfunded mandates from Springfield to implement this monstrosity, additional funding which will come from higher property taxes.
This mischief making bill has been growing larger and larger with several amendments.
Curiously, no Lake County Democrats have lent their names in support of this measure as a sponsor or as a co-sponsor as I write this. No Lake County Republicans have lent their names in support of this measure as a sponsor or as a co-sponsor as I write this.
Because this is something Lake County doesn't want, doesn't need and doesn't want to bear the burden of paying for? Because those elected officials would have to answer to the voters for this proposed stunt?
To the Republicans in Lake County more interested in fighting each other than fighting against such nonsense proposed by Democrats, wake up.