Feb 26 2014

Statement on Same-Sex Marriage

Published by under General

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 26, 2014

Contact: Gordy Hulten (217.384.3720)

Same-Sex Marriage In Champaign County

URBANA, IL – Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten today issued the following statement on same-sex marriage in Champaign County:

“On Friday, federal judge Sharon Johnson Coleman held that the Illinois statute banning marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional and violates the Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause. The Illinois Attorney General and the Cook County Clerk were parties to the suit. The precise effect of the ruling on other Illinois counties is unclear. However, after consulting with State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, I have come to the conclusion that the rationale of the case applies to all citizens of Illinois and that Champaign County residents should have no fewer Constitutional rights than those in Cook County. Furthermore, given the ruling, denying a license to a same sex couple would provide no benefit to the County and would likely result in litigation at taxpayer expense.

“Therefore, effective immediately, the Champaign County Clerk’s office will issue marriage licenses to same sex applicants, in accordance with the 14th Amendment, and the Illinois and United States Constitutions.”

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Sep 11 2013

Press Release: Considering Alternative Election Equipment for Early Voting

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 11, 2013

Contact: Gordy Hulten (217.384.3720)

 County Clerk Gordy Hulten Considering Alternative Election Equipment for Early Voting

 

URBANA, IL – Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten today announced his office is considering acquiring alternative election tabulators to allow Champaign County voters more access, convenience and choices for Early Voting.

“Our goal has been to aggressively expand and promote opportunities for Early Voting in Champaign County,” said Hulten. “With our new Early Voting sites proving to be so popular last year, we’re now considering different election equipment that will allow any registered voter in Champaign County to vote early, in person, at any one of eight different locations.”

To facilitate greater flexibility and convenience for Champaign County voters, County Clerk Gordy Hulten is considering a new model of Optical Scan tabulator that can process ballots that would be issued to any voter in Champaign County, whereas current equipment is limited to ballots from no more than ten precincts each.  The new equipment being considered is compatible with existing software used in the County Clerk’s office to create ballots, program elections and combine tabulated results and would not necessitate using different ballots than those used for absentee voting or on Election Day.  The new tabulator models are more user-friendly for voters, and each Early Voting location would be able to issue on-demand and tabulate the correct ballot for any validly registered voter in Champaign County.

“We learned in 2012 that some voters appreciate the convenience of Early Voting, but sometimes the location assigned to them based on their voter registration address wasn’t convenient,” said Hulten.  “Now, if someone lives in Mahomet but works on the University of Illinois campus, they can take advantage of that Early Voting location if they so choose.”

In 2012, for the first time, Early Voting was conducted at locations other than the County Clerk’s office. Hulten introduced new locations in the Illini Union in Urbana, Spalding Recreation Center and Meadowbrook Community Church in Champaign, Grace Church of Mahomet, Rantoul Recreation Center, St. Joseph Village Annex and the Tolono Public Library.  Each new site was available only to voters living in precincts in close proximity, with the County Clerk’s office available as an Early Voting location for all Champaign County Voters.  The November 2012 General Election saw more than 25 percent of Champaign County voters vote Early or Absentee.

“We take seriously the feedback we get from voters on improvements to the services we provide,” said Hulten. “Allowing any registered voter in Champaign County to vote at any Early Voting location is something many asked for in 2012 but have been unable to provide until now.  We would like to have this capability in place for the March 18, 2014 Primary Election.”

County Clerk Gordy Hulten has a demonstration unit of the tabulator being considered for use in Champaign County, and is conducting a series of public events to provide voters an opportunity to use and test, and for the Clerk’s office to solicit feedback.  The schedule of events is:

  • 9/12/2013, 9-10 AM: Champaign County Farm Bureau, 801 Country Fair Drive, Champaign IL 61821
  • 10/16/2013, 10-11 AM: Urbana Free Library, 210 West Green, Urbana IL 61801
  • 10/17/2013, 10-11 AM: Tolono Public Library, 111 East Main Street, Tolono IL 61880
  • 10/22/2013, 10:30 – 11:30 AM: Douglass Branch Champaign Public Library, 504 East Grove Street, Champaign IL 61820
  • 10/22/2013, 6-7 PM: St. Joseph Village Meeting, 207 East Lincoln, St. Joseph IL 61873
  • 10/23/2013, 10:30-11:30 AM: Champaign Public Library-Main, 200 West Green Street, Champaign IL 61820
  • 11/12/2013: 5:30-6:30 PM: Rantoul Village Meeting, 333 South Tanner Street, Rantoul IL 61866
  • 11/26/2013: 5-6 PM: Mahomet Village Meeting, 503 East Main Street, Mahomet IL 61853

Voters who cannot make any of the scheduled events but who have questions, concerns or feedback should contact Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten at (217) 384-3724 or mail@champaigncountyclerk.com.

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Oct 20 2012

High School Mock Election

Published by under Elections

This week, we were excited to work with eight public high schools in Champaign County and the League of Women Voters to conduct a be able to conduct a mock election for high school students.  We prepared ballots containing the appropriate Federal and State offices for the districts that roughly matched the territory of the school districts, and worked with each school on appropriate referenda.  We provided ballots, tabulators, ballot boxes, voting booths, privacy covers, pens, “I Voted” stickers and other supplies in an effort to make the voting experience for students as similar as possible to real voting.

Voting was conducted October 16, 17 and 18 at each school, with election judge services provides by volunteers from the LWV, and in some cases, other students. We operated each school as its own precinct, so we could tally results separately for each school and then combine.  We had excellent participation with 3,080 students voting countywide.  Results are:

This was the largest mock election we’ve ever done, and I hope the LWV and schools enjoyed it as much as we did.  We’re already looking forward to the next one.

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Oct 11 2012

Press Release: County Clerk Gordy Hulten Announces, Demonstrates Poll Books For Upcoming Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 11, 2012

Contact: Gordy Hulten (217.384.3720)

URBANA, IL – Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten announced and demonstrated today new electronic poll books that will be used to more accurately and quickly check in voters at polling places on Election Day.

“We are expecting record voter turnout in Champaign County for this year’s General Election,” said Hulten, “We are excited that we will be able to offer more efficient, accurate voter check-in at each of our 100 polling places.”

Electronic Poll Books are laptop computers loaded with a special program used to search for and process individual voters registered at a given precinct.  When a voter enters a polling place, Election Judges will use the Poll Books to search for the voter by name, address or birth date, find the correct voter’s record, use the software to verify the voter’s registration information and identify the correct ballot to be issued to the voter.

Each of Champaign County’s 100 Election Day polling places will have at least two Poll Books, staffed by trained and certified Election Judges.  All expenses related to the Poll Book laptop hardware and other related equipment was covered by a Help America Vote Act grant at no expense to Champaign County taxpayers.  The software program running on each Poll Book was programmed in-house, by County Clerk staff, and does not rely on an expensive vendor-provided solution, which can cost $300,000 or more with significant annual licensing expenses.  In addition, the use of Poll Books will result in significant savings of printing expenses related to the old system of paper ballot applications, and enormous labor costs related to binding and preparing over 120,000 applications for use on Election Day.

“Poll Books will provide improved service to our Election Day voters, easier processing of voters for our Election Judges, improved accuracy and security for our office, at no initial expense and with real ongoing savings for County taxpayers,” said Hulten.

Voters are encouraged to visit the Champaign County Clerk’s office for a demonstration.  Those with questions or seeking more information about Champaign County’s use of Poll Books are encouraged to contact Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten at 217-384-3720 or email mail@champaigncountyclerk.com.

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Sep 26 2012

Press Release: Absentee Voting Opens Tomorrow

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 26, 2012

Contact: Gordy Hulten (217.384.3720)

County Clerk Gordy Hulten Announces

Opening of Absentee Voting Tomorrow

URBANA, IL – Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten announced today that the period for absentee voting for the November 6, 2012 General Election will open tomorrow, Thursday, September 27.

“Absentee voting is now available in Illinois with no excuse necessary,” said Hulten.  “Voters can begin absentee voting tomorrow, by mail or in person, for any reason, and take advantage of the convenience.”

Registered voters can request to vote by mail by visiting www.champaigncountyclerk.com/abr/ and filling out the secure online request form for an absentee ballot, or by calling the County Clerk’s office at 217-384-3724, or by emailing mail@champaigncountyclerk.com.  Registered voters may also vote absentee in-person, at the office of Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten, 1776 E. Washington Street in Urbana, from 8 AM to 4:30 PM weekdays.

Voters with questions may contact Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten at 217-384-3724, or by email at mail@champaigncountyclerk.com.

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Sep 20 2012

Press Release: County Clerk Announces Sample Ballots Available for General Election

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

September 20, 2012

Contact: Gordy Hulten (217.384.3720)

County Clerk Announces Sample Ballots Available for General Election

URBANA, IL – Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten announced today that sample ballots are now available for the November 6 General Election.

“Sample ballots are a useful tool for voters to begin educating themselves about districts, candidates and referenda on which they will be voting,” said Hulten.  “Especially in this first election after redistricting, voters who are unfamiliar with new districts and candidates can get an early feel for the decisions that they will make when voting.”

Sample ballots are available online at www.champaigncountyclerk.com. Voters should use the link titled, “Check Your Voter Registration Status” to access their individual sample ballot as well as information about their voting districts, polling place, and early voting information including options for early voting locations.  Sample ballots are also available at the office of Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten.

Voters with questions may contact Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten at 217-384-3724, or by email at mail@champaigncountyclerk.com.

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Sep 05 2012

Township Ballot Questions

From a statement released a few minutes ago:

URBANA, IL – Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten today announced that despite formatting improprieties, one advisory question will appear on the November 6, 2012 General Election ballot for City of Champaign Township voters and two advisory questions will appear on the ballot for Cunningham Township voters.

            The referenda, as submitted by electors at their respective Township’s Annual Meetings, are problematic because they don’t conform to the requirements of the Election Code of Illinois.  Specifically, the referenda are not phrased as questions but rather as a series of editorial statements, and do not lend themselves to the standard ‘yes’ or ‘no’ responses required for ballot questions, as required by 10 ILCS 5/16-7.  When the questions were ratified by their respective Township Boards last month, the issue of non-conformity was raised.

“While responsibility as the Election Authority for Champaign County includes the ability to reject non-conforming ballot questions, in the end we decided that these particular non-binding, advisory referenda posed no significant threat to the integrity of the ballot as a whole, or to the election process,” said Hulten. “Therefore, in the interest of increased ballot access and the general principle of letting voters decide, the referenda will appear on the ballot.”

 

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Jul 05 2012

New Voter Registration Partnerships Announced

This afternoon, we announced a series of new voter registration partnerships with property managers in Champaign-Urbana. New residents will find a voter registration form along with an informational letter about the voter registration process in welcome packets given out at apartment buildings and houses managed by the following property managers:

• Bankier Apartments                • JSM Apartments

•The Village at Colbert Park    • One North and One South

• Ramshaw Real Estate          • Wampler Property Management

• Roland Realty                          • Indigo Place

• Armory House                          • Campus Property Management

• Burnham 310                           • Green Street Realty

• The Pointe

By including voter registration forms and instructions in welcome packets, many of our area’s residents who live in apartments will have a great opportunity to register to vote for the first time or change their voter registration address in a convenient manner.  Our community has a high proportion of renters and residents who move frequently. With so many people interested in participating in the important November 6 election,it is important to registration as convenient as possible so that it’s done properly.

Other property managers with questions or who are interested in participating in this new voter registration partnership should contact us at 217-384-3724 or email mail@champaigncountyclerk.com.

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Jun 13 2012

Voter Registration Drives Held at Local Libraries this Summer

Published by under Elections

This summer we are holding voter registration drives at libraries throughout the county.Voter registration is the critical first step towards a person exercising their right to vote. At these events, voters will be able to register as new voters, or update their registration if they’ve recently moved or changed their name. Proper registration will ensure their eligibility to vote at future elections, and that’s one key to increasing voter turnout.

Dates and Locations:

 

June 20, 2012 4-8pm                                                              July 12, 2012, 10am-12pm

Mahomet Public Library                                                            Philo Public Library

1702 East Oak Street                                                               115 East Washington

Mahomet, IL 61853                                                                   Philo, IL 61864

 

July 9, 2012, 9am-12pm                                                           July 15, 2012, 1-4pm

Tolono Public Library                                                                 Rantoul Public Library

111 East Main Street                                                                  106 West Flessner Avenue

Tolono, IL 61880                                                                         Rantoul, IL 61866

 

July 10, 2012, 5-7pm                                                                  July 16, 2012, 5-8pm

Homer Community Library                                                         St. Joseph Township-Swearingen Memorial Library

500 E. Second Street                                                                  201 North 3rd Street

Homer, IL 61849                                                                          St. Joseph, IL 61873

 

For more information or questions regarding theses and voter registration please contact the Champaign County Clerk’s office at (217) 384-3720, email champaigncountyclerk.com or visit www.champaigncountyclerk.com.

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Jun 07 2012

New Early Voting Locations

Published by under Elections

This morning, we announced plans to conduct Early Voting at eight locations in Champaign County for the November 6, 2012, General Election.  This blog post will echo a Memo prepared to update our Champaign County Board on the topic, and is intended to provide some background information on Early Voting, its history in Champaign County, summarizes our priorities in planning for November’s election and attempts to answer anticipated questions.  The attached documents are:

  • Table 1 indicating the seven new Early Voting locations and the precincts available at each location.
  • Table 2 indicating each of Champaign County’s 118 precincts and the Early Voting locations that will be available to the voters in each precinct.
  • Map Set 1 indicating the geographic area of the precincts available at each of the seven new Early Voting locations.

Early Voting was first implemented in Illinois for the 2006 General Election.  Other than a pilot program in November 2010 on the University of Illinois Campus (in compliance with a now-expired state mandate), Early Voting in Champaign County has only been available at the Champaign County Clerk’s Office at the Brookens Administrative Center in Urbana.  Other Illinois Election Authorities have offered Early Voting at multiple locations other than the Office of the Election Authority, and have seen significantly higher Early Voting participation rates.

For example, Madison County, which offers Early Voting at 10 locations other than the County Clerk’s Office, has an Early Voting rate that roughly doubles Champaign County.  For the 2008 General Election, almost 21 percent of the total votes cast in Madison County were early votes.  For the same election, about eight percent of total votes cast in Champaign County were early votes.

At a fundamental level, voting is the act of individuals exercising choices.  The exercising of a voter’s choice is most often considered in the context of choosing the candidates and referenda for whom or for which they wish to vote.  However, Illinois Election Law now allows for voters to choose not only for whom they will vote, but often the timing, location and method of voting.

Our plan for the November 6, 2012 General Election will greatly expand voters’ choices in the timing, location and method of voting and we believe this is a logical extension of the services we should provide to voters in Champaign County.

For the November 6, 2012 General Election, in accordance with 10 ILCS 5/19A-20, for the first time we will offer Early Voting at seven locations in Champaign County in addition to the County Clerk’s Office.  These seven new locations have been chosen to comply with the legal requirements governing Early Voting, in accordance with our standards for security and accessibility, and with an emphasis on convenience and fairness to the voters of Champaign County.

Under 10 ILCS 5/19A-20, “the election authority may establish temporary branch polling places for early voting.”  At these “temporary” early voting sites, we do not have to have all ballot styles available, the schedules do not need to be uniform nor are we required to offer early voting for the full period.  Our plan is to accommodate voters from up to 20 proximal precincts at each new Early Voting location.  Champaign County uses ES&S M100 optical scan tabulators to conduct our Early, Absentee and polling place voting.  Each M100 tabulator can read ballots from up to 10 precincts.  Champaign County purchased an additional 12 M100 Tabulators, enough to handle all precincts in the County, in response to the 2010 Campus Early Voting mandate, and our plan is to distribute those 12 tabulators across the seven new Early Voting locations.  Five of the new locations will receive two M100 Tabulators each and can accommodate up to 20 precincts, and two of the new locations will receive one M100 Tabulator each and can accommodate up to 10 precincts.  Table 1 indicates which precincts will be available at each of the new Early Voting Locations.

In addition, our plan is to offer Early Voting at the seven new locations for nearly the same dates and hours that Early Voting is required at the County Clerk’s Office.  Details are still being finalized due to SB 3722, which is pending legislation that may impact the beginning and ending dates of Early Voting.

For the November 6, 2012 General Election, Early Voting will be available as is our normal practice, at the Champaign County Clerk’s Office at Brookens Administrative Center, 1776 East Washington, in Urbana.  This location will be available to all registered voters in all 118 precincts in Champaign County.

The second location will be located on the University of Illinois Campus, in the Illini Union Room 317, 1401 West Green Street, Urbana.  This location was selected with input from the Illini Union management and University of Illinois Student Government leaders.  This location will be available as an Early Voting location to approximately 22,632 registered voters in the 20 precincts in closest proximity to the UI Campus.  In addition, if SB 3722 is enacted, this location complies with the state’s mandate of an Early Voting location on our public University’s campus that is contained in that legislation.  We are indebted to Sen. Mike Frerichs and Rep. Naomi Jakobsson for their collaboration with us on SB 3722.  The amendments they supported to SB 3722 will allow us to operate all seven of our new Early Voting locations rather than requiring us to use all our available equipment at the UI Campus location.

The third location will be located in North Champaign, at Spalding Recreation Center, 910 North Harris, Champaign.  Spalding Recreation Center is our normal Election Day polling place for City of Champaign 6 and 10, and will be available as an Early Voting location to approximately 23,307 voters in 20 precincts in close proximity.

The fourth location will be located in Southwest Champaign, at Meadowbrook Community Church Room 133, 1902 South Duncan, Champaign.  Meadowbrook Community Church is our normal Election Day polling place for City of Champaign 33, and will be available as an Early Voting location to approximately 25,532 voters in 20 precincts in close proximity.

The fifth location will be in Mahomet, at Grace Church, 800 West Oak, Mahomet.  Grace Church is our normal Election Day polling place for Mahomet 2, and will be available as an Early Voting location to approximately 21,561 voters in 19 precincts in west and northwest Champaign County.

The sixth location will be in Rantoul, at Rantoul Recreation Center, 100 East Flessner, Rantoul.  This Early Voting location will be available to approximately 15,354 voters in 20 precincts in northern Champaign County.

The seventh location will be in St. Joseph, at the St. Joseph Village Annex, 201 Second Street, St. Joseph.  This Early Voting location will be available to approximately 8,370 voters in 10 precincts in eastern Champaign County.

The eighth location will be in Tolono, at the Tolono Public Library, 111 E. Main Street, Tolono.  This Early Voting location will be available to approximately 8,697 voters in 10 precincts in southern Champaign County.

The expense of operating the seven new Early Voting locations has been greatly reduced due to our having purchased the twelve additional M100 tabulators to comply with the 2010 mandate to conduct Early Voting on the UI Campus.  We anticipate our expenses for operating the seven additional locations for the November 6, 2012 General Election to be largely relating to the hiring of Election Judges to staff the new locations.  This expense is manageable within our existing budgetary authority granted by the County Board, and will be more than offset by savings we have realized from in-house ballot printing and other operational improvements.  In addition, we anticipate that widespread use of our seven new Early Voting locations may reduce congestion at Election Day polling places, and we anticipate requiring fewer Election Judges on Election Day as a result.

We will implement this plan for seven new Early Voting locations for the November 6, 2012 General Election.  Post-election, we will evaluate it, make improvements where necessary and if possible we hope to continue to offer Early Voting at all seven new locations for all future countywide elections.

We are excited about this new service we will provide to Champaign County’s voters.  We have been planning this for more than a year and many people have cooperated and should be acknowledged.  First, the staff in the County Clerk’s Office is creative, efficient and responsive.  They have been instrumental in planning and implementing this service.  Other County Departments have been critical as well, especially Administrative Services and Information Technology.  The seven facilities we are using to host our new Early Voting locations are being provided to us at no expense, and we must acknowledge the University of Illinois Illini Union, Champaign Park District, Meadowbrook Community Church, Grace Church, Rantoul Recreation Department, Village of St. Joseph and Tolono Public Library for their generosity and willingness to accommodate us and the voters of Champaign County.  Finally, the collaboration of Sen. Mike Frerichs and Rep. Naomi Jakbosson on SB 3722 has provided us with the legal authority to implement this plan and for that we are grateful.

As the Election Authority can implement this plan under 10 ILCS 5/19A, and because we are seeking no additional budgetary authority, at this time there is no County Board action required.  However, we are aware that this is a subject that has been of considerable interest to both the Board and the public for many years.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss any aspect of this plan, please email me or post in comments here.  Thank you.

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