Election and Voter Information
Upcoming changes in Cook County Election rules were recently covered during a League of Women Voters' program in Oak Park (http://youtu.be/oZwezpFlNJI ). Highlights include:
The League held a Candidate Forum at the Village Hall on Sunday, March 17th. Ccandidates answered questions about how they would deal with pressing issues before the Village Board, Park Board, District #39 School Board and the Wilmette Public Library Board of Trustees.
Rebroadcasts of the event will be on Wilmette Local Access Channel as follows:
8:30pm LWV Forum - Park Board
7 pm LWV Forum - Library Board
6 pm LWV Forum - Park Board
7 pmLWV Forum - School District #39
8 pm LWV Forum - Library Board
8:30pm LWV Forum - Park Board
9:30pm LWV Forum - Village Trustee and President
10:30pm LWV Forum - Library Board
League of Women Voters of Wilmette's Voter's Guide contains written answers to questions posed to all the candidates, even those in uncontested races. It will be distributed at public buildings throughout Wilmette and is available online at the League of Woman Voters website.
1 to 2 Village Board Presidential Candidates
2 to 3 Candidates for Park District Board of Commissioners
3 to 4 Candidates for Wilmette District #39 Board of Education
4 to 5 Candidates for the Wilmette Public Library Board of Trustees
Once on the website, go to Elections. Then put in the required information, which includes your name and address. Click GO and you will then see your polling place.
To save Cook County money on election costs, a number of polling places are being consolidated. Of the current 65 precincts in New Trier Township, 19 will be eliminated. As yet, not all of the consolidation decisions have been finalized. However, by the end of February, voters affected by the change in the location of their polling place will receive a notice by mail. Look for those postcards yourself and spread the word about the closings to neighbors and friends. Due to the late date for decisions on closings, it is best to use the Cook County website at cookcountyclerk.com to confirm a polling place rather than the National League Polling Place Finder at Vote411.org.Here is a telephone number for the County Clerk: (312) 603-5656
Find information about the next election at .....
Cook County Clerk:http://www.cookctyclerk.com/
Wilmette voters by a large margin passed the referendum on authorizing the Village managers to form an aggregation of customers to collectively obtain our supply of electricity. The objective is to achieve rates that are lower than currently offered through ComEd.
At the April 27, 2012 Board meeting, we discussed how the Village of Wilmette in conjunction with the Village of Kenilworth is moving ahead very quickly with the selection of an alternative electric supplier for the newly form aggregate of residential and small commercial customers. The Wilmette Village management has been clear in public statements and in their presentation to our Board that the objective of the program is only to save money. With a "cost only" criteria for the selection of a supplier, Wilmette and Kenilworth will buy a standard package of electrical power from plants that produce power as the result of burning fossil fuels along with the required minimum of 7% renewable energy sources. At the first (and only) meeting of the Administration Committee of the Village Board on the topic, three options for suppliers were presented:
Additional information about the program is available on the Village website.
One reason for paying attention to sources selected is that more is at stake than simply cost. Wilmette does not generate any power within our community so that the burden of pollution produced falls in the backyards of other communities. As our managers and elected officials set policy, it is in the people of Wilmette's best interest to be mindful of the total costs of power production and not simply cost savings to our community. More is at stake than just air pollution; there is an enormous amount of water that is fouled in the process of harvesting, transporting, and burning fossil fuels. By selecting providers that will supply a higher percentage of green power, we would be accelerating the important transition from brown to green energy. At the very least, our requests for proposals should ask perspective providers to ask for what is called "power labeling" to disclose energy sources that would be provided. We need to keep in mind that the lowest costs to us come from aging coal and nuclear plants, but these plants are also associated with the highest healthcare burdens on society and they are already receiving large government subsidies.
Illinois voters have rejected a proposed amendment to the State constitution that would have made it more difficult to expand public employee retirement benefits. The proposed amendment fell short of the two criteria needed for passage. The measure needed a favorable vote from either three-fifths of those voting on the measure, or 50 percent of the total number of votes cast in Tuesday's election. Nearly 5 million people voted in the election. With lawmakers stalemated on how to fix a severely underfunded pension system, the amendment would have required a three-fifths vote of the Legislature -- instead of a simple majority -- to increase pension benefits for public employees. Illinois pension systems are in a financial mess, and some critics say legislators too often grant better benefits without worrying about the cost. The amendment was intended to rein in lawmakers who might ram a pension increase through the General Assembly. It's also a reaction to cases of special benefits being provided to well-connected people, such as two union lobbyists who qualified for teachers' pensions after spending just one day as substitute teachers. Critics pointed out the change would do nothing to make up an $85 billion shortfall in the amount owed to five public pension systems. And it would rarely have an effect on pension-boost votes. Most pension "sweeteners" have been approved by overwhelming majorities, and the increases are a small part of the financial problem. They account for only 9 percent of growth in the pension shortfall over the past 15 years. Besides raising the vote requirement in the Legislature, the amendment also would raise the requirement for city councils, school boards and other public bodies to pass anything that would increase pension costs, aside from higher wages. Critics say this invites a storm of lawsuits over exactly what would be covered by the amendment. Copyright © 2012 -- Sun-Times Media, LLC
After reviewing the General Assembly's proposal, relevant League positions and precedents, and researching supporting documentation, League of Women Voters of Illinois Board of Directors has decided to oppose HJRCA 49, the Constitutional Amendment referendum proposal that will be on the November 6, 2012 ballot. The rationale and explanation for this decision are on the LWV Illinois League website. (September 20, 2012)
Pennsylvania, Minnesota, Virginia, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire and North Carolina are among the states seeing the introduction and/or reintroduction of bills that, if passed, could disenfranchise millions of voters across the country. The New York Times ran an editorial this month that links the influence of big money to the wave of voter suppression laws sweeping the country, specifically connecting these efforts with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its billionaire backers.
For more information read this article on the League of Women Voters U.S. website.
Two bills are pending in the Illinois legislature to required photo IDs for voting in Illinois (HB3903 and SB2496). The premise is that there is widespread voter fraud although no clear factual evidence points to that being the case; the effect is significant voter suppression.
Consider these statistics: