McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan’s Precinct Polling Place Consolidation Plan Brings Republicans and Democrats Together

During Public Comment at Tuesday’s McHenry County Board meeting, County Clerk Mary McClellan came into harsh criticism from both a Democratic and a Republican Party Precinct Committeeman.

First up was long-time Barrington Hills Republican Precinct Committeeman Lou Anne Majewski.

Having seen McClellan’s plan to consolidate precincts on McHenry County Blog, Majewski criticized McClellan’s excuse that school district officials, mandated by law to provide polling places, were complaining that their children’s safety was endangered by voters.

The letter can be found immediately below:

Letter from the County Clerk

Polling Place Consolidation

Over the last couple of years we have had requests from school districts to find new polling places for the safety of their children.

There is also a new law that affects election judges as well; for example HB 539 authorizes county boards to reduce the number of judges of election from five to three for primary elections.

We have also had private entities requesting removal of polling places from their facilities for their own reasons.

We have no control over the private entities and no statutory requirement to mandate a polling location at their facilities.

That being said, in an effort to create efficiencies and respect the wishes of those not wanting to participate, we have been working on consolidation of our polling places.

By working together using current polling places that have large enough spaces and adequate parking for at least two if not more precincts at one location, we have been able to change 33 locations.

We will be conducting a pilot program for the March 20, 2018 Primary Election.

These 33 location changes affect 18 schools and 20 private entities.

The impact of the proposed changes are throughout the county, the average distance between the new and old polling places in most instances is 1.2 miles to 1.5 miles.

There are three instances where the distance is an average of 2.2 miles to the new polling place.

The positive side of the consolidations at this time is that the new electronic poll books allow us to make this transition without much additional training and efforts for the election judges.

We have met with most of the election judges over the summer to discuss the upcoming changes and they are seeing this change to be positive and beneficial.

I have enjoyed fulfilling the responsibilities that my constituents have placed in me.

Please feel free to contact me directly at: with any questions.

I appreciate being your County Clerk, because it’s my job to make the process easier for the community.

The summary sheet enclosed with the letter follows:

“We have never seen out voters as perverts and sex offenders,” Majewski said.

Jack Franks and Mary McClellan confer at the McHenry’s 2015 Fiesta Days Parade.

“The stand by the school districts is unacceptable,” she continued.

“Students should be taught that voting is very important.”

(I remember when I was at Emerson Elementary School in Salt Lake City in 1954 seeing people coming to canvas booths. Asking what was happening, I was told it was people voting in an election. It obviously made an impression on me.)

Right after Majewski was Democrat Cathy Johnson, who ran for County Board two years ago and is the appointed Precinct Committeeman in Riley Township.

Johnson pointed out that McClellan’s responsibility was “to make it easier to vote, not harder.”

She said consolidation in other states was “one of the tactics to suppress voting.”

Neighbors expect to be able to vote in their neighborhoods.

“Chairman Franks, you promised no services would be cut,” Johnson told her party’s man at the podium.


McHenry County Clerk Mary McClellan’s Precinct Polling Place Consolidation Plan Brings Republicans and Democrats Together — 26 Comments

  1. One can FOIA documents or records the County Clerk has indicating school districts have concerns pertaining to polling places and / or safety of children during voting.

  2. Lies, misdirection and subterfuge.

    Get a clue.

    They are up to no good.

    What did you expect from a Crook County crook?

  3. Sunshine blogger, please FOI the transcripts of the conversation between Jack Franks and Mary McClellan shown in this never-before-seen picture. The citizens of rural McHenry county deserve the truth. What is Jack Franks hiding on his back? Very, very suspicious. Please get to the bottom of this…tic, tock, tic, tock…

  4. As an election judge, I can assure everyone of two things:

    One, school districts were indeed complaining about polling places in their buildings; and

    two, this consolidation plan was being crafted before Chairman Franks infected this county.

  5. The better for her to control things so she can become another crooked judge.

  6. Why does her running for a judge remind me of Mel Reynolds? Oh, yeah. People are really stupid!

  7. So is one to conclude that if precinct is NOT listed that there are no changes to polling place location?

  8. So why don’t they use election day as a work institute day for teachers.

    Makes sense doesn’t it!

    I know that you will end up with long lines especially during presidential years.

    Frustration will set in.

    It is another dumb idea from Mary McClellan.

    She was a bad County Board member, a worse County Clerk and would be a terrible judge!

    She can’t even get elections correct!

  9. Maybe the school districts’ real aim is to suppress turnout in the low participation off year elections that typically determine who will be on the school board.

    Those elections sometimes contain proposals to increase school taxes as well.

    Low turnouts make it easier for a motivated minority to get its way.

  10. I like consolidations too. It is time to merge this sunshine blog with its parent company and inspiration, The Onion. Tic, tock, tic, tock…

  11. To those complaining that using schools interferes with class on election days the answer is clear.

    Close the schools on election days.

    To make up for the lost days, open schools earlier in August and keep them open longer in late May, early June.

    Or, get rid of the phony holidays for schools and their teachers and administrators.

    Only observe holidays that the private sector in the US recognizes.

    Children can then go to school classes on holidays such as President’s Day, Columbus Day, etc. and not go to classes on election days.

  12. Sex offenders can be voters though.

    I saw a child molester in my polling place once.

    Majewski = WRONG!

    Also, not sure if this is misdirected outrage on these speakers’ part or just clickbait/hatred for McLellan on the author’s part.

    The school districts have decided to discontinue being polling locations but somehow McLellan should be criticized for this?


  13. By law, school districts cannot withdraw as polling places, I believe.

  14. I have no idea whether McClellan is being completely truthful here or not, but if she is, it’s absolutely ridiculous for the school district to be so arrogant.

    The people who are voting in the schools are for the most part the people whose taxes are paying for the schools.

  15. She’s taking advantage of a low turnout in the primary while she is a candidate for Judge.

    Where will there be a list of the regular poling places vs the new poling places?

    Of course there will be signs on the old poling places as to where to go to vote – PROBABLY NOT!!!

  16. Cal is correct.

    School districts are required by law to allow their buildings to be used as polling places.

    (10 ILCS 5/11-4.1) (from Ch. 46, par. 11-4.1)

    Sec. 11-4.1. (a) In appointing polling places under this Article, the county board or board of election commissioners shall, insofar as they are convenient and available, use schools and other public buildings as polling places.
    (b) Upon request of the county board or board of election commissioners, the proper agency of government (including school districts and units of local government) shall make a public building under its control available for use as a polling place on an election day and for a reasonably necessary time before and after election day, without charge. If the county board or board of election commissioners chooses a school to be a polling place, then the school district must make the school available for use as a polling place. However, for the day of the election, a school district is encouraged to (i) close the school or (ii) hold a teachers institute on that day with students not in attendance.

  17. I have also have served as an election judge and a tech judge for the last few years, and have been stationed at a school for the last 3 elections.

    I can emphatically state that the schools (at least the one I’ve served at) do not like us there, and despite the wording of the law, can have a very strict definition of the term “reasonably necessary time” that can make the job more difficult.

    It is also necessary to have a police officer onsite during school hours, and as he or she would normally be off that day (they can’t be on duty and leave their post for an emergency), they are getting paid overtime, thus adding to the cost of the election.

    Whether or not the school’s attitude is correct, and whether or not the schools should be open on voting days, is certainly a reasonable and valuable discussion.

    To imply that this is an evil master plan on Mary’s part is incorrect.

    I would encourage you to contact the school board or the principal of the specific school, if you want to argue against this change.

    Based on the meetings and training I have attended, I would say that the rest of the consolidation plan is to try and save money.

    There are over 200 voting precincts in the County, and that requires an awful lot of staff and equipment.

    Several of those precincts regularly have very low turnout, and having several precincts in vote in one place can help out in a lot of ways.

    I’m not saying that the current plan put forth is great – a precinct that votes in my church is going to be moved about 1/2 mile west to another location.

    On a map, it looks like a good idea -it’s not far, and the new spot has lots of parking.

    But I happen to know many of the voters that turn out live in the apartments around the church and walk over.

    Plus the polls are a very short distance from the parking lot.

    These voters will need to drive to the new location, and will have to walk much further from the parking lot.

    I told Mary that I didn’t think that it would be a good move and explained why.

    If you don’t like something, you should let her know and explain.

    I don’t see a power play here, and trying the new plan during a less busy election makes perfect sense – I somehow expect that if she tried this new plan during a major presidential election there would be lots of complaints about that, too

  18. Has the County Board signed off on this polling place consolidation?

    Going by the wording of the law, I’m not sure that the County Clerk has the right to make this call on her own.

  19. Hi Cindy!

    That is certainly a possibility, I tend to be more of an optimistic people person kinda guy.

    But while I certainly acknowledge some iffy things in Mary’s background, I really just don’t see anything nefarious going in this particular instance.

    I guess time will tell.

  20. Looks like Democrats such as the lady named Johnson are quick to bring up the goofy national Democrat Party talking point, never proven, of “voter suppression.”

  21. To An American on

    When you saw the sex offender, did you call the police or school officials?

    If not, why not?

  22. Engineering guy

    Your comments are very relevant.

    And accurate.

    I regret that anonymity prevents us from exchanging experiences and information.

    Thank you for sharing.

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