The Daily Illini
By Maggie Dunphy
February 27, 2003
The Illinois House of Representatives passed a bill last week
would allow county boards to elect members through cumulative
Through cumulative voting, county voters would be able to cast
three of their votes for a single county board candidate if
wanted to do so. The bill also would allow counties to conduct
advisory referendums to decide how board members would be
elected and how many members would be elected.
"This bill allows counties to do what they want to do," said
Elizabeth Coulson, R-Glenview, who voted in favor of the
"Our state is so diverse," Coulson said. "It allows each county
elect members as they see fit."
The bill applied to all counties with multimember boards, which
includes Champaign County.
Rep. Paul D. Froehlich, R-Schaumburg, signed on as co-sponsor
bill after it was discussed in committee.
"I'd like to see counties be able to experiment if they so
Champaign County Board member Kevin Brumback disagreed with the
"The problem I have is that we as voters each have one vote,
have a feeling this will allow blocks of people to push behind
candidates and get them elected," he said.
"I just think this is a bad, bad idea," Brumback said. "This is
to skew the election."
There was about 20 minutes of debate on the House floor,
said, but the bill passed 73-40.
"It's an interesting idea," said Rep. Mike Boland, D- Moline,
voted for the bill. "In particular, I think it will affect
counties where one candidate is predominant."
If passed, the new way of voting could benefit minority
"If it were adopted by a county, it would give minorities,
racial or political, the opportunity to get at least one
elected," he said. "Now the minority is empowered."
Rep. Mike Bost, R-Carbondale, was originally against the bill
voted in favor of it after it was redrafted.
Bost said some people have concerns about cumulative voting
it "brings in a lot of deal cutting." If one community wanted a
certain person elected, it could make for a hard campaign to
person "bulleted" in, Bost said. A bullet is when a candidate
receives all three votes from one voter.
With this form of campaigning, "they can sway the majority,"
"The few people I called on the McHenry County Board did not
cumulative voting," said Rep. Mark H. Beaubien Jr., R-
Beaubien voted against the bill.
The Illinois General Assembly had cumulative voting until the
1980s. Bost said until this time, each district had three
representatives and one senator who ran at large within the
Some representatives benefited from cumulative voting while
were disadvantaged by it, depending on each representative's
"You can have one area overload it," Bost said.
Despite potential problems with cumulative voting, Bost
"It is up to the individual counties whether to enforce
voting," Bost said. "This bill isn't going to force county
use cumulative voting, so it's still a local control
The Illinois Senate will look at the bill during session