The Case for a Single Election Authority - Help us End the BEC

McLean County Board Candidate (D10) Kevin Woodard petitions earlier this spring.

As many of you know, the McLean County Libertarian Party is circulating petitions to dissolve the Bloomington Election Commission and move McLean County toward having just one, county-wide election authority. The case for a single election authority is simple: it's more efficient, transparent, and better for everyone in McLean County.

A single election authority would reduce the complexities involving the voting process, voter registration, candidate filing, petitioning, vote tabulating, and the posting of election results. Having two separate election authorities in the same county makes all of these parts of the electoral process needlessly more complex than they need to be.

Additionally, consolidating to a single election authority will save the county money. While it may take the same number of people to administer elections, staff is just a single expense of an election authority. Consolidating to one authority will save money on office space, infrastructure, hardware, software, supplies, and countless other expenses.

Moving to a single election authority will help make elections and the electoral process in McLean County more transparent. Having information compiled in one single place, available by request from one single office, displayed in one single format, is undoubtedly more transparent than asking people seeking information to gather it from multiple election authorities.

As Chairman of the McLean County Libertarian Party, there have been multiple times I have contacted the State Board of Elections with questions regarding candidate filing and other paperwork. In many of these instances, I have been told that candidates should give paperwork to the Clerk's office, but also to give paperwork with the Bloomington Election Commission office just in case. These issues frequently come up regarding political boundaries that are under both the BEC's and Clerk's jurisdictions. When representatives of the State Board of Elections are unsure regarding the procedures of the electoral process due to the complexities of having two election authorities, it is unfair to ask voters, candidates, and others involved in the process to fully understand it as well.

"We all want one, single election authority for McLean County. Regardless of preference for who administers elections, this first step must happen. We must dissolve the BEC."

It's clear that McLean County needs to move toward one, single election authority. There is room for debate whether that election authority should be the Clerk's office or if it should be an independent commission, but according to state law, the only way to move toward an independent commission for the entire county is to first dissolve the Bloomington Election Commission. Whichever method you prefer, voting to end the BEC is the first step in the process.

The McLean County Libertarian Party crafted the language for the petition in late 2017 and started circulating in January. In June, the McLean County GOP unanimously voted to support the petition. Several Democratic elected officials and candidates support the League of Women Voters plan for a county-wide independent commission. It seems as if nearly all of us are on the same team here. We all want one, single election authority for McLean County. Regardless of preference for who administers elections, this first step must happen. We must dissolve the BEC.

Download printable petitions at this link. Those who sign petitions must be registered voters of Bloomington. Circulate the petitions, and return them to the McLean County Libertarian Party at a meeting. You can also coordinate pickup from me, personally, via email at chair@mcleancountylp.org. 

Steve Suess, Chairman of the McLean County Libertarian Party and McLean County Board Candidate in District 8, wrote this blog post. If you'd like to contribute to the blog, please email chair@mcleancountylp.org.

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