PRESS RELEASE: Seminar on Open Government for Local Officials and Public Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 11, 2015
Contact: Gordy Hulten (217.384.3720)

Seminar on Open Government for Local Officials and Public Announced

URBANA, IL – Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten announced today a public seminar for local officials on the Illinois Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act, co-hosted by State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, and featuring the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor Sarah Pratt on Wednesday, May 20, 2015 from 2:30 PM to 4:30 PM at the Champaign Public Library.

“Understanding and complying with the State of Illinois’ Freedom of Information Act and Open Meetings Act is an important part of our duties as public officials,” said Hulten. “State’s Attorney Rietz and I try to be a resource to our officials and the public, but we’re very excited to have the Public Access Counselor available as a resource as well.”

The seminar will begin at 2:30 PM on Wednesday, May 20, 2015, in the Robeson Pavilion Rooms A & B at the Champaign Public Library, 200 W. Green Street, Champaign. There will be a presentation by the Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor, followed by time for questions and answers from local officials and the public. All local officials are invited to attend, and the seminar is open to the public and media. There are a limited number of seats for this program, and RSVPs are requested to Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten at mail@champaigncountyclerk.com or 217-384-3724.

Individuals with questions or those seeking more information should contact Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten at 217-384-3720 or email mail@champaigncountyclerk.com.

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Statement on Same-Sex Marriage

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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First Day

I wanted to post a quick hello message on my first day as Champaign County Clerk.

As you know if you’re reading this, Mark Shelden set an incredibly high standard as he led this office for 13 1/2 years, and I am honored to succeed him and greatly appreciative of all his advice and assistance during the past few weeks of transition.

I’ll be posting here regularly, just as Mark did, although my focus won’t be as much on election law, as I don’t yet have Mark’s expertise.  My initial posts will be on our office’s policies and procedures, how the law  impacts them, and perhaps ways we can use technology to better achieve our objectives and serve our County residents more efficiently.

For today, though, I just wanted to say hello, introduce myself, and say “Thank you” to everyone for their support, but especially to Mark and the office staff – the best in Illinois.  Thank you.

The Best Job I Can Imagine

I doubt that I’ll have a better job than being Champaign County Clerk.  This wonderful opportunity to work with a great staff in service to the community in securing one of the most fundamental of our rights has truly been a blessing.

I’m moving on to become the Chief of Staff for Congressman Tim Johnson-IL 15.  I’m moving on to something different, but I can’t say better.

I can’t imagine that the issues that I care about in elections will ever be too far from my mind.   I’ll be following them with interest in my new position.

Thanks to all of you who put your confidence in me to safeguard Champaign County elections.  I have every expectation that the high standards for integrity and efficiency that have been established will be continued and improved upon by successor, Gordy Hulten.

Thanks to a Great Staff

Today, April 19, was the last day for the established political parties to fill vacancies in nomination when no candidate was nominated in the primary election.   For the first time, no established political party candidate filed to run against me.  New political party candidates and independents can file for office in June so it is no guarantee that I’ll  be unopposed.  Nevertheless, not having an opponent from the opposition parties is gratifying.

I’m sure I could give a host of reasons for the lack of opposition.  But first, foremost, and without peer is the great work of the staff in my office.  Over nearly 13 years they have provided great service, fair and honest elections, and progressive advances in every area of this office.  Every week I have multiple people who approach me and  compliment the work of my office.  The confidence and support of the public in general is reflected in those compliments and hopefully is reflected in the lack of opposition.

Thanks so much to my staff who has served so well and earned such trust.

Pew Data

Yesterday afternoon, after posting the latest Pew Center report on the costs of voter registration I received the Pew spreadsheet of the costs. Since I mentioned yesterday that they hadn’t been forthcoming in providing the information, I though I ought to get it posted right away.

For the record, I first requested this data on December 28, 2009.  I received a “We’re in the process” response on January 8, 2010.  I followed up on February 18, 2010.  On February 24, 2010 I received another “We’re in the process” response.  I don’t know if yesterday’s posting was the prompt for Pew turning over the spreadsheet or if it was mere coincidence.

Of course, like the mistake made on the OCVR we don’t have independent proof of the reliability of what is being presented.

Plenty more on this topic in future days.