Tazewell County, Ill. (WMBD) — Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman stated that his redistricting proposal for the 2024 election is not being taken up by the Tazewell County Board as required by Illinois statutory law.
Ackerman said the board is required to vote on precinct boundaries and polling locations on years following a general election, but his proposal is not on the agenda for next week’s meeting.
“You can’t knowingly, willingly ignore state statute and then use an emergency clause. That’s not how it works,” he said.
The proposal was initially on the May agenda but was pulled off. Ackerman said not complying with the statute will open them up to additional costs for voter role purges, potential litigation from political parties and reduced public trust in elections.
“I would have to run purge this year to meet federal guidelines, and next year to meet state guidelines…If I have to do it next year, it would be in the middle of the election process, which causes chaos and confusion for voters. It would also be expensive,” Ackerman said.
However, Tazewell County Board Chairman David Zimmerman said the board has some flexibility with the law.
“I do feel like the law gives the board some latitude and I’m just choosing to do this after two major precinct redistricting….I feel like we have good standing here. There’s nothing in that statute. There are no penalties or anything for not doing this,” he said.
Zimmerman added redistricting three years in a row will be confusing to voters.
“I think it just adds a factor of confusion for the voter when their precinct, the location, all these things changed three years in a row. I don’t think it’s good for democracy. We used to do this every 10 years, and now John is kind of in the habit of doing this every year,” Zimmerman said.
Ackerman said his proposal only has minor changes that would only affect a few hundred people in South Pekin.
“This isn’t a major overhaul. This is a minor cleanup. He doesn’t even have to vote on that, just simply put on the agenda, a vote to leave things as it is,” he said.