Tri States Public Radio Staff
Tue November 10, 2009
City Could Change Primary Date
Macomb, IL – Macomb aldermen hope to have more information next week about a proposal to change city elections.
The plan is to drop the February primary in odd numbered years. Balloting would instead take place in April, which is when all other towns in McDonough County hold elections.
McDonough County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes says the change would save money for county taxpayers. She says Macomb's primary is costly per vote. For example:
*The February 2009 primary cost $12,843. Just 207 ballots were cast, which means it cost almost $58 per vote. Only Macomb was served, but all of the county's taxpayers had to help pay the bill.
*The April 2009 election cost the county around $25,000. 3,222 ballots were cast for a cost of $7.75 per vote.
First Ward Alderman Ryan Hansen is pushing the city's plan. But he says it's not yet known what needs to be done to make the change.
"Our city attorney will need to do a lot of the work to look into what's the vehicle for change," says Hansen. "Whether we have to take it to a referendum for our voters to decide or whether it needs to go to the legislature for a special charter."
The city will need to take action quickly if a referendum is needed. November 30 is the final date for local governments to submit paperwork for putting a referendum on next year's February ballot.
Republican McDonough County Board member Tony Coniglio says he's been urging the city to make the change for eight years.
"I'm a taxpayer, you're a taxpayer. And right now, we need to save all the money we can," says Coniglio.
Even though the county operates elections, it's entirely up to the city to decide whether to make the change.