The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

February 28, 2013

Consolidate Illinois' many elections


DANVILLE — Danville voters — and taxpayers, for that matter — should be happy about the city of Urbana’s primary election conducted Tuesday for two ballot positions. They should be happy Danville doesn’t have anything similar.

For starters, Danville voters select from a non-partisan ballot, not one with political parties.

Because Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing faced a challenge from within her own party, and because the incumbent city clerk also saw a challenge, Urbana had to conduct a primary election.

That means election judges in every precinct had to be paid; ballots had to be printed; officials had to compile and count the ballots — all at taxpayers’ expense.

All this was put into motion for roughly 10 percent of the registered voters who bother to cast a primary ballot.

That’s ridiculous.

Next up, Illinois communities of all sizes will conduct municipal and school board general elections in April.

Illinois must consider consolidating as many elections as it possibly can. Running separate elections for municipal positions on a year between countywide, state and congressional elections makes little sense.

The election calendar not only creates expenses for taxpayers, but causes voters to become almost irritated by the number of years in a row they must cast ballots.

Consolidating all of the elections into as few years as possible will reduce costs, increase efficiency and rebuild the voters’ enthusiasm for participating in a fundamental privilege. It’s time for such changes to be considered.