Cook County Clerk David Orr submitted the following statement in support of Senate Amendment 2 to House Bill 4576, which provides for special elections for non-gubernatorial executive offices when there is a vacancy of more than 28 months remaining in a term of office.
The Illinois Senate and Illinois House executive committees will meet on the issue today at 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., respectively.
“I firmly believe that the electorate should have a say over who serves in public office. This is only logical, in a democracy.
“Illinois is best served by a uniform succession policy. Uniformity eliminates confusion, and promotes public confidence that policies are not being altered from one vacancy to the next for political purposes.
“As the election authority for suburban Cook County, I want to note that special elections will not incur any additional costs because they will be held when other elections are already scheduled, such as the presidential primary and presidential general election in 2016. Indeed, denying the public the opportunity to fill offices when an election is already available would be a disservice to the electorate.”
This is not the first time Orr has argued in favor of special elections when an elected official dies or resigns with more than half of a term unfinished. Orr and a group called “The Coalition to Let the People Decide in 1989” sued and won a special election for the successor to the late Mayor Harold Washington.
“You never want to tell the public they don’t have a right to choose who their leader will be,” said Orr in 1988, as quoted by the Associated Press.