During the last week of the spring session and without notice, the state's Democrats voted to require Lake County to set up a judge-appointed election commission, stripping Lake County's clerk Willard Helander of her election oversight powers. The bill, HB 2418, makes no provisions for Lake County voters to express their opinion on the change that could cost local taxpayers in excess of $600,000.
The move was a surprise for Lake County Clerk Helander and Barrington State Senator Dan Duffy.
"It is a power play, pure and simple ... They pushed this through on the fast track," Duffy told Illinois Review Wednesday.
Helander agreed with Duffy and suggested Lake County voters would not sit still.
"This seems to be ripe for a class action that voters in Lake are singled out and shut out with extensive new costs and no vote on wanting a new layer of government," Helander told Illinois Review.
Not only does HB 2418 force an election commission on Lake County, it includes other election law changes, including expanding access to voter registration from in-person signups to allowing registration via Internet.
The bill, HB 2418, now heads for the Governor's desk, but not without controversy among Democrats. After adding her name as chief co-Sponsor on Thursday, State Rep Maria Berrios (D-Chicago) along with Chicago-based co-sponsors Silvana Tabares, Robert Martwick and Elizabeth Hernandez, all removed their names from HB 2418 the next day, leaving as sponsor House Majority Whip Barbara Flynn Currie and co-sponsor Andre Thapedi:
HB 2418's Senate roll call is available on Illinois Review HERE. The House vote is below: