Group: Keep Naperville Council voting at-large
By Hank Beckman For The Sun November 28, 2012 8:00PM
In the same week that the field of City Council Candidates has been finalized for the final election of Council members in an at-large election, one group is filing a petition to keep the voting at-large.
Yes, Elect City Council At Large, a group opposed to the coming hybrid district/at large system, filed a petition today with the City Clerk’s office with the hope of placing a binding referendum on the April ballot asking voters if they want to retain the strictly at-large system.
“We want people to start talking about it,” Rebecca Obarski, attorney and founder of YECAL, said after filing the 2,550 signatures late Wednesday afternoon. “Once they see it’s actually on the ballot, they can start talking with their neighbors about it.”
Voters approved the move to a system of electing five council members from districts and three members and the mayor at-large in a referendum question on the November 2010 off-year ballot.
When implementing the system immediately proved impossible, a DuPage County judge ordered the City to have the election districts in place by the Municipal elections of 2015.
City Staff went through a yearlong process of drawing five election districts that were approved by City Council September 2012.
The April 2013 election will be for four City Council seats, but only for two-year terms, to accommodate the special 2015 election.
The 2010 referendum was approved with 28,238 in favor the hybrid system, as opposed to 14,593 against, an almost two to one margin that would seem to most observers a clear mandate.
But YECAL argues that not only has the City opposed two previous efforts to implement election districts, but that the electorate in 2010 was distracted by a particularly divisive national election, one in which the U.S. Congress realized a dramatic shift of over 70 seats from the Democratic Party to the Republican.
Supporters of the move to the new system have repeatedly made the point that an overwhelming number of citizens supported the move and that it should be given a chance to succeed or fail on its merits.
Moreover, many argue that to scrap the system before even one election is held with it would not only be cumbersome, but could be legally questionable.