Judge: Naperville council districts to start in 2015
Sun Staff April 14, 2011 2:32PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
DuPage Circuit Judge Bonnie Wheaton on Wednesday entered a court ruling that implements districts in the city of Naperville with the 2015 consolidated election.
Wheaton’s ruling is based on Illinois election law directing district system implementation to coincide with the next mayoral election, scheduled for 2015.
On Nov. 2, 2010, voters approved a binding public referendum question that established a new form of government for the city whereby five council members will be elected by districts and three will be elected at-large. Since candidates for the April 2011 election were required to submit their nomination papers before the referendum results were certified, it was impossible to implement the referendum with the 2011 election.
On Nov. 17, 2010, Wheaton agreed that the referendum could not be implemented by April 2011 and gave interested parties an opportunity to participate in the case on the question of implementation for 2013 or 2015. The Naperville Voter Education League filed a brief earlier this year requesting the referendum be implemented by the 2013 election. On Wednesday, Wheaton agreed with the city and the DuPage Election Commission and ruled that the law requires implementation in 2015.
Bill Eagan, NVEL chairman, said the group thought going in to court that it was a “50-50” chance of whether the judge would rule for 2013 or 2015. The group still believes there was plenty of time to implement districting by 2013, but either way, he added, “the people have spoken.”
Eagan hopes that in drawing the council districts, each of about 30,000 residents, that city officials will include those for and against the new system.
Meantime, he added, the group may focus its efforts on getting a recall option available to Naperville voters.