Aldermen voted 6-to-2 Monday night to put a referendum on the March ballot that asks voters whether they want to eliminate the primary held in February of odd-numbered years.
Second Ward Alderman Steve Wailand said while he does not support elimination of the primary, he does support the idea of seeking voter input.
“I voted “yes” because I don’t think that the city council should be deciding what the election rules are for the city,” Wailand said.
Fourth Ward Alderman Dave Dorsett and Alderman At Large Dennis Moon voted against putting the issue before voters.
“I think the main concern of everyone involved was the cost of the election,” said Moon. “I think there are still some steps we could do to get the cost down.”
Although it’s a city election, the balloting is administered by the county clerk’s office and paid for by the county. Figures from the county clerk’s office show this year’s February election in Macomb cost $7,695.60. The turnout was 4.6%.
Clerk Gretchen DeJaynes has said that’s about the cheapest she can conduct the election.
If voters approve the referendum, Macomb’s city elections would be held in April, when almost all other municipal elections are held in Illinois.
The only exception would be if five or more candidates filed for a single seat. In such a case, a February primary would be held only for that office in order to narrow the field to two candidates for the April election.