PEKIN — Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman expected his precinct-redistricting proposal to be accepted by the Tazewell County Board.
At their meeting Wednesday, the board held off on a final decision, choosing to wait until their July 31 meeting. The county clerk says he gets why.
“If you have the time, why not take some extra time to make sure you’re getting all the information,” Ackerman said.
He will not, however, delay presentations on the redistricting at various Tazewell County township meetings in July.
“With candidates pulling petitions and getting started, we wanted to get that information to them before that whole discussion really started taking off for the 2020 election,” he said. “That’s why I can’t delay a month, we would push our conversation too late with the townships.”
If the board approves the resolution, redistricting will take effect in March 2020 during the primary elections.
The measure reduces the number of precincts from 135 to 109, thus lowering the number of election judges from 1,350 to 1,090. The budget for election judges would shrink in a corresponding move, from more than $225,000 to $182,575.
His proposal puts the average number of registered voters in each precinct above the state's threshold of 800. He explained there are “some rulings” that suggest that number isn’t mandatory.
Data shows other counties in Illinois have exceeded the threshold as well.
Peoria County, for instance, has 169 precincts for a total population of 186,494, which means the average number of registered voters per precinct is 1,104. Champaign County has even less precincts, 118, for more people, 201,081, with an average of 1,704 registered voters per precinct.
Also included in the proposal is the consolidation of how election equipment is stored and distributed. Equipment is now stored by the townships themselves. Ackerman said the county will take over that responsibility, and also distribute the equipment to the towns.
“The reasoning for this,” he said. “is right now, I don’t have an idea of what equipment is out there, the status of the condition (the equipment) is in, because it’s not here where I can see it.”
In addition to the consolidation of storage, Ackerman said they would have the opportunity to make the polling sites look more uniform.
“I’ll be able to standardize what equipment is out there, what it looks like, what the condition of it is, and be able to have uniformity so that what you see in Boynton is the same as in Minier and Hopedale and Morton, which is how it should be,” he said.