You can’t make this stuff up: Bloomington Election Commission

By: Diane Benjamin

Did you notice the Democrats weren’t crying “Voting Suppression” when BEC shut down early voting for days to fix their ballot problem? What would they have said about Republican Kathy Michael if the County would have shut down early voting?

Did you also notice there is no one voters can hold accountable for the BEC error? The election officials in Bloomington aren’t elected and therefore can’t be held them accountable for costing you money.

I hope the League of Women Voters understands now how WRONG they were to want a County non-partisan Election Commission. Forget non-partisan doesn’t exist (see both City Councils), the ballot error means taxpayers pay for it and can’t vote anyone out of office.

All of the above is background for the REAL story.

County taxpayers are required to pay for elections in Bloomington.

I bet you thought since Bloomington decided to have their own Election Authority instead of allowing the County to conduct all elections they had to pay for it.

The picture below is from the Bloomington Budget – PDF page 64: https://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=24726

It shows BEC will have revenue this year of $644,633 and spend 100% of it.

Now look at a page from the budget the McLean County Finance Committee passed last night:

PDF page 74: https://www.mcleancountyil.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/7735

If you can’t read it, click on the link and go to the page.

Why are County taxpayers funding elections in Bloomington?

Did you know all of us who don’t live in Bloomington are paying for Bloomington to have their own unaccountable Election Commission?

Next fiscal year we will be giving them $624,025 and hoping they give $100,000 back.

This one didn’t take long to find out what’s going on. I started with the County Administrator Camille Rodriquez. She gave me a brief explanation but referred me to State’s Attorney Don Knapp for more details. Thanks to both of them for getting back to me rapidly!

When the Bloomington citizens decided they needed an Election Commission clear back in 1914 that triggered provisions in the State Statutes which require the County to hand over money. The amount is based on a complicated formula involving population, EAV and other factors. The County can not decide the amount themselves!

For many years BEC returned $100,000 to the County because they didn’t need all the money. One year they didn’t so they could buy new computers – with YOUR money if you live outside of Bloomington. They aren’t required by law to return anything. Note, the County has $100,000 listed as Revenue in the budget in hopes BEC returns it. I don’t know what the ballot fiasco and legal fees cost, but the people of Bloomington won’t be footing the bill – the County will.

It gets worse:

The County is footing the entire bill for Bloomington elections.

To prove that one, look at the 2019 Bloomington financial statements. The statements as of 4/30/2020 have yet to be released.

PDF page 139 https://www.cityblm.org/home/showdocument?id=23337

The numbers are not going to match exactly because the City and County have different fiscal year ends. It is obvious however that the revenue the Board of Elections received is from the County. The City of Bloomington is paying ZERO for their Elections Commission.

County taxpayers: This is taxation without representation!

Abolishing the Bloomington Election Commission needs to be back on the ballot. The soonest would be April 2021. Only Bloomington residents get to vote on abolishing it – we who pay the bills don’t get a vote.

If Bloomington voters understood they have NO ONE to hold accountable for errors made by the Bloomington Election Commission and it would cost them ZERO to abolish it, they would pass it this time.

Bloomington voters pay County taxes too so they are already paying for BEC. It isn’t fair to stick the rest of us with the bills and have no accountability for the way it’s run. The elected County Clerk’s office needs to run ALL elections.

If you didn’t notice, BEC employees got a 5% budget bump and 3% overall.

This time Democrats should join the Libertarians and Republicans if they really believe in representative government.

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12 thoughts on “You can’t make this stuff up: Bloomington Election Commission

  1. At any point, has there been an attempt to abolish/terminate the BEC? Is there any rationale, whatsoever, for having the BEC instead of just leveraging the county?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. If I remember, the language used on the ballot was worded in such a way that it was umclear if ‘yes’ was to abolish and ‘no’ was to keep the duplication. I see the Bloomington Election Commission (BEC) as a duplication of Kathy Michaels office. The BEC has issues every election. This ballot blunder is bad. The previous election, BEC voters were sent downtown, only to find out they were unable to vote downtown. I was at the Government Center on election day, and there were A LOT of very upset BEC voters who were very frustrated.

        Like

  2. While political parties reach down to city and country elected officials, this is the first state I’ve lived in where that happens. I’ve lived in Delaware, Maine, Virginia, and Florida. It was a breath of fresh air that local races were non-political.

    Like

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