Naperville Voter Education League
Educating residents about local government

Naperville Voter Education League

Implementation of hybrid district/at-large system in Naperville

November 9th, 2010 . by admin

The Naperville Voter Education League (“NVEL”) wishes to extend its appreciation to the many Naperville voters who took the time to exercise their important right to vote on November 2nd with respect to a number of important elections and issues. In so doing, voters overwhelmingly approved by a 2/3 majority, the referendum to establish five districts and three at large positions with respect to Naperville City Council members.

This referendum had been prepared and placed on the November 2nd ballot in accordance with applicable Illinois statutes by the NVEL through circulated petitions that included a total of 2,640 signatures of Naperville residents. The NVEL’s sole purpose was to allow the voters to have the legal and proper opportunity to weigh in and control this important issue for our community. The NVEL at all times remained neutral, providing educational information and both pros and cons with respect to the referendum’s outcome.

The City of Naperville took no action prior to Election Day to prepare for the eventual outcome of the referendum, other than draft language in consideration of legal action to defer application of the referendum’s districts until 2015. This formal action was filed with the Court in DuPage County, within hours of the vote’s outcome.

The NVEL wishes to remind everyone of the following facts:

1. In the 2009 election those running in the two year seat had less than 90 days to gather petitions.

2. Anyone wishing to run for Park District Board to fill an opening seat will have less than 90 days to gather petitions (packets became available last week and are due December 13, 2010).

3. The city has had two special censuses completed in the last ten years to identify where the city was growing in order to capture additional tax revenue.

4. The state Statute calls for no specific language in the referendum question as to effective date.

5. The state Statute calls for an effective date at the next Mayoral election, which is April 2011.

Given these facts, we respectfully request the city and courts to consider district implementation in 2013 as a reasonable alternative to 2015. Given more recent census data than 2000 we believe that there is enough data for the lines to be drawn currently. While we agree that there that those who were elected to a four seat in 2009 have a right to fulfill their terms through 2013, there are other ways of implementing districts without impacting those councilmen. Two examples are:

1. For the 2011 election, have the Mayor and three of the four at large seats run for a four year term. The last remaining seat for the April 2011 election would be a two year at large seat. In the 2013 election the councilmen who were elected to four year seats in 2009 and the two year seat from 2011 would then become the district seats up for election in 2013.

2. Have each of the four seats up for the 2011 election be two year seats with full implementation in 2013.

We ask the City to start taking action as soon as possible, so when the court makes its decision it is ready to move forward responsively and prudently.

The NVEL would encourage voters to contact the City and take any other action as appropriate to ensure that the Court considers all reasonable alternatives in making its decision. The NVEL will work to keep Naperville residents informed of the Court’s participation and decisions pertaining to the referendum.

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