Aurora Chamber Board Endorses Dissolution of Election Commission

At a special meeting of the Aurora Regional Chamber Board of Directors, the Board voted to support the March 20 referendum for the dissolution of the Aurora Election Commission.

The AEC serves the residents of Aurora, excluding the growing portion in DuPage County. Created in 1934, the purpose was to allow the population of Aurora – at the time, entirely in Kane County and estimated at approximately 46,500 – an opportunity to register and to vote locally.

Over the past 10 years, the average cost to maintain and operate the AEC has cost the City of Aurora and its residents more than $700,000 annually. Further, the services only included voter registration, early voting, polling sites, election and election results. Other services – such as vital records, tax payments, and more – were still under the purview of the County. The Board believes that services can be provided by the Kane, Kendall, and Will county clerks at no additional cost.

In a January article in the Daily Herald, Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham is quoted as saying, “If the people of Aurora vote this in, we can do it cheaper,” Cunningham said. “The cost to the taxpayers will be reduced. There will be no duplication of basic services. And I don’t think equipment will be a problem. I’m pretty much satisfied that it will not be a big problem to take this on.”

Cunningham has offered to open a satellite office in Aurora which would include all County services, including increased access to the votemobile, a voter outreach program, tax payments, and vital records.

Also in January, Kendall County Clerk Debbie Gillette expressed confidence in the county being able to handle the additional voters in Kendall County. The Kendall County Board approved a resolution in April 2016 urging the dissolution of the commission.

A recent study found that for the two-year election cycle of 2015-2016, the AEC had a total election budget of $2.29 million dollars for 73 precincts which saw 69,316 votes cast. The cost per vote was $33.04. During the same period, the Kane County Clerk reported a $3.49 million budget for 228 precincts with 298,751 votes cast at a cost per vote of $11.69.

“The Board urges Aurora residents to vote yes to the referendum,” states Joseph Henning, Aurora Chamber president. “The efficiencies to be realized and the elimination of duplicative services were key factors in their decision.”

“While the idea of consolidation of governmental bodies and saving significant money in the process was a significant factor in the decision,” Henning continues, “the Board members were also adamant that the level of access remain at or better than current access available to City residents. It also felt that an increase in voter engagement — including registration and education — should be realized.”

Discussion was held on bringing awareness to the referendum question of “Shall the City Election Law be Rejected?” While this is the legal wording required by State statute, the Board felt the Chamber should play a role in explaining the question to voters to reduce confusion.

Aurora voters are encouraged to visit www.CloseTheCommision.com or visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Closethecommission/ for updates and information.

To check your voter status, visit ova.elections.il.gov/RegistrationLookup.aspx.

 

ABOUT THE AURORA REGIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE: The Aurora Regional Chamber of Commerce is a private, not-for-profit, membership-driven organization comprised of more than 700 members representing nearly 40,000 employees. Our mission is be the catalyst for business success by providing leadership that facilitates the creation of a prosperous regional economy and effective advocacy for our members.

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