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Posted on: December 8, 2017

Specially Tailored Election Referendum


At the March 20, 2018 primary election, the voters of Northfield will be asked to consider the establishment of a Specially Tailored Election System for the purpose of electing Village of Northfield trustees and village president.  The Village Board submitted the issue of such a system to the Northfield Village Caucus for their review approval.  After considerable discussion, the Caucus unanimously recommended the placement of the question before the voters. The Village Board voted unanimously, at its December 5th Board meeting, to place this binding initiative on the ballot. 

The Illinois Constitution provides that home rule municipalities, such as Northfield, may by referendum provide for the manner in which its officials are elected.   This ballot initiative will be undertaken pursuant to that grant of Constitutional authority.

Northfield trustees do not run for office as members of any national or local political party.  Nonetheless, some degree of confusion arises every election cycle as to the type of nominating petitions which must be circulated, whether the candidates are deemed to be partisan, non-partisan or independent, the precise number of signatures needed on the nominating petition, and whether or not a primary election is necessary.  All of these issues affect the timing of petition circulation and filing.  Over the years, the Village has received conflicting answers from state and local election officials with respect to these matters.  It is the hope of the Village Board that by giving the voters the opportunity to establish a local system, this confusion can be minimized, if not eliminated.  All candidates, including those interviewed and supported by the Caucus, would run as non-partisan candidates.  Further, there will no longer be a question as to the necessity of a primary election.  The number of signatures required on the nominating petition will be set at 50, rather than a floating number based on the ballots cast at the preceding election.

The role of the Northfield Caucus will remain the same and candidates wishing to run without Caucus support will still be eligible and encouraged to do so.  Similar systems have been established elsewhere and seem to make the process more accessible and open.  The specially tailored system will apply only to the election of Village trustees and president and not to other taxing bodies with the village.

Residents are urged to look for the below question on the March 20, 2018 ballot and to make their thoughts known on this possible new approach:

“Should the Village of Northfield continue its non-partisan
system of electing its President and Trustees, but amend the system so that no primary election would be required and the number of signatures required for ballot eligibility would be set at 50”

Click here to review a list of frequently asked questions about the Specially Tailored Election System Referendum.

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