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: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
“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.