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November 8, 2013


Jennie Vana, Communications Manager



Lake County Wins Lawsuit Challenging 
Creation of Elections Commission  
County Clerk's Office Will Continue to Administer Elections 

A court ruling today overturns a new state law that would have created an elections commission in Lake County and allows the Lake County Clerk to continue administering local elections.


Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor and Lake County filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the new law because it specifically singles out Lake County and eliminates voters' right to choose who administers elections. Other counties can establish an elections commission by voter referendum, or by ordinance of the elected county board.


Kane County Circuit Judge David Akemann ruled in favor of Lake County, finding the new law unconstitutional.  Akemann wrote, "There was no basis to distinguish Lake County from any other county for purposes of the contested statute."


Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor said, "This decision is a big win for Lake County voters and taxpayers. The bottom line is what Springfield did was unconstitutional and demonstrates government at its worst. This ruling protects voters' right to decide who administers elections like every other county in the state, and avoids the creation of a new expensive government bureaucracy."


Lake County estimated that the new law could cost $500,000 to $700,000 by creating another layer of government.


Lake County State's Attorney Michael Nerheim represented the County in the lawsuit and offered this comment on today's ruling: "The legal challenge to this legislation was about protecting the rights and wallets of Lake County voters and taxpayers from legislation that inexplicably and improperly treated Lake County differently than every other county in the state with respect to elections administration."


The defendants in the lawsuit included: Chief Judge Fred Foreman, who under the legislation was charged with appointing the elections commission, and the Illinois State Board of Elections, which is the state agency that has general oversight and administration of elections.


Due to a potential conflict of interest, Kane County Circuit Judge David Akemann was appointed to this case.  


Read Akemann Order





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