The Peoria County Board of Election Commissioners held its monthly meeting on June 8, 2021, with all commissioners present except for Commissioner Burke. The only unusual expenditure was for property tax on the building. It was thought that they would not have to pay that tax since they are a government body, but that has proven not to be true. The whole year’s levy was paid to the owner of the building for 55% of the total due. The owner is responsible for paying the real estate tax.
Much of the rest of the meeting was spent discussing an issue with the Center for Tech & Civic Life Grant. This grant was received last year to help defray election costs arising from the pandemic. The County Board approved the receipt of this grant. The total grant was for $109,000, and there is $19,000 left that can be spent until the end of July 2021. Director Tom Bride asked the County Board to amend the Commission’s budget so that this money can be spent. At the last County Board meeting, this request was voted down. Some County Board members expressed an unwillingness to accept money for elections from a private entity, even though there were no strings attached. When Director Bride tried to explain that the money was already here, he was not allowed to speak! Only two Board members voted against receiving the grant last year, but a 2/3 vote was needed to pass the amendment to the budget. Director Bride will go back to the Ways and Means committee on June 21, and hopefully will be able to gain passage at the July 8 full Board meeting.
A Request For Proposal for a new voting system should be going out by the end of June. There was a slight delay due to a new voting law passed recently by the State of Illinois. The next primary will be June 28, so there is plenty of time. Director Bride, also, expects growth in Vote-By-Mail since voters will be able to have a permanent mail-in ability. He wants to gather data from other states so that information can be included in the RFP. There will be some advantages in having numbers known in advance, but there could be staffing changes as well.
Irene Pritzker, Observer
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