She said candidate petition forms will be available beginning Aug.
28. The filing dates have been established as Nov. 19-26.
primary election will be on Feb. 26 and the general election will be
She said the petition forms and candidate guides are available on
the Illinois State Board of Elections
website. There is also a
copy on file at the clerk's office, and copies can be made from that
Treasurer Chuck Conzo told the council that he would recommend
they get the candidate guide and read through it carefully. He said
there was a lot of information to go through in the guide, but there
were specific details about running for the office of mayor or
alderman that would be very helpful to them. He also noted that,
most important, they need to keep in mind what the filing dates are
and be sure to file on time.
Alderman Tom O'Donohue then commented that right now, no
candidate could actually collect signatures on a petition because
the problem of redistricting the city has not been resolved.
Snyder said that was correct. According to state law, the
redistricting must be done 30 days prior to the filing date.
Therefore the project must be completed no later than Oct. 19.
He said he has had talks with Will D'Andrea, who handles the
Logan County GIS program. D'Andrea said he is available to help the
city, using GIS data. Snyder said this would be a less expensive
route for the city to take as opposed to hiring an outside firm to
Snyder said there was also a question that had to be decided
before any work began: Would the city move to four districts or stay
In the state laws there are conflicting statements that leave the
option up to the city. In one place the law reads that the
redistricting must be done. In another place it appears that the
city could opt not to redistrict.
City attorney Blinn Bates has warned that he feels staying with
five wards could be a risky situation and moving to four might be
the wiser decision in spite of the conflict in the law.
Snyder said the process would first be to decide on five wards or
four, and then he would appoint a committee to go forward with the
Melody Anderson confirmed with Snyder that the council has only
two months to get all this done. She then noted that if the city
does go to four wards, it is her understanding every alderman will
have to run for office in the coming election.
[to top of second column]
Snyder said that is correct. If the city goes to four wards,
eight aldermen will be elected in 2013. Once the elections are won,
the council will hold a lottery drawing for who will serve the
two-year term and who will serve the four-year term in each ward,
thereby re-establishing the normal rotation in the city council.
Conzo also weighed in, saying the same would be true even if the
city stays with five wards.
According to state law, cities can determine their number of
wards based on total population. Then the wards must be established
in such a manner that each one has approximately the same number of
residents. Even if the city does stay with five wards, the boundary
lines will have to be redrawn to achieve the proper populations in
Because of that, aldermen may find they are representing a
different group of constituents, and that group may opt for a
different candidate for alderman.
In the city of Lincoln, currently five candidates run for the
office of alderman every two years. This has been established so
that at any given time there are still experienced aldermen in
office, while possible "freshmen" are learning the ropes.
Though it may not seem probable at the moment, it is possible
that in the coming election an entirely new "freshman" council could
be elected into office.
Snyder drew the discussion to a close by suggesting a motion to
go into next week's agenda. He said the motion could read that the
city would go to four wards. If the motion fails, he said it could
then be assumed that the city wishes to maintain five wards, and
then redistricting can move forward from there.
[By NILA SMITH]
Past related articles
June 15, 2011 --
City redistricting would cut aldermen to 8
July 13, 2011 --
Water shut-offs, stop signs and more
Sept. 14, 2011 --
Prison closure, potential ward changes,
sewer problem and more
Sept. 16, 2011 --
County prepares to contest city
annexation, discuses raises for nonunion employees and more
Sept. 24, 2011 --
Board struggles with possible annexation
contest with city; approves nonunion pay raises, request for
public transportation funds, letter of support to keep prison
open and more
May 24, 2012 --
City discusses reducing wards from 5 to 4