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Referendum on Fate of Macomb Election

Voters will decide whether to essentially do away with Macomb’s February election.

The measure is on the ballot next Tuesday, March 18.

The city currently holds its elections in February of odd-numbered years.  A run-off election – if needed – is held in April when all other municipal elections take place in Illinois.

The referendum proposes moving most of the city’s elections to April.  The only exception would be if more than four candidates file for a single office.  In such cases, a February election would be held to narrow the field of candidates.

Fourth Ward Alderman Dave Dorsett thinks that plan could confuse some residents.

“You might have a February election. You might not have a February election,” Dorsett said. 

“If you thought it was confusing to people or tiring to people before, I think it’s going to get worse.”

Dorsett is urging people to vote against the referendum.

No other elections are currently held in February in McDonough County, which is why County Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes recommended people vote in favor of the referendum.

“There is a cost associated with the February election, obviously.  We typically do not have a great turnout for that February election,” she said.

DeJaynes said her office spent $15,000 to conduct the February 2013 Macomb election and only 4% of voters bothered to show up.

The roots of the movement to do away with the February election are in last year’s 50% Plus One investigation conducted by Tri States Public Radio.  The story was reported on March 13, 2013.

The investigation found that a rule imposed to order a run-off election in Macomb’s second ward was not part of the city’s election code.   

A judge ruled there should be no run-off and awarded the seat to Steve Wailand.  Months later the city modified its election code to clarify its definition of the word “majority.”

Now, voters have the opportunity to approve or reject one more change.

Rich is TSPR's News Director.