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Letter: Two Different Referendum Questions Ask the Same Thing, 'Should Dual Elected Duty be Allowed?'

Read them carefully, because no matter how you stand on dual elected duty, you will want to answer "yes" on one and "no" on the other.

Now that early voting for the Nov. 6 General Election is beginning, Elmhurst voters should be aware that they will see on their ballots two different and distinct referendum questions on the topic of "dual duty," whether an individual should or should not be allowed to hold multiple elected public offices at the same time.  One question was initiated by DuPage County and the other was initiated by the City of Elmhurst, and that's the order in which you'll see them on the ballot. 

The wording on each of the two questions is different, and no matter which side of the issue you support, you'll probably find that you'll want to answer one question "No" and the other question "Yes."  So it's really important to read each question carefully.

The DuPage County question is a general one on the concept of dual office-holding: "Should Illinois law PERMIT an individual to hold two or more public elected offices simultaneously?" 

After considering issues such as conflicts of interest, pension double dipping, and real-life time constraints, I believe many will conclude that the simultaneous holding of multiple elected offices by one person is generally a bad idea.  If you think as a general principle that elected officials in Illinois should hold one and only one elected public office at a time, then vote "No" on this question, holding simultaneous elected offices should NOT be PERMITTED by Illinois law.  The County referendum question is advisory only, so no action will be required on anybody's part whatever the results of this public opinion poll.

The City of Elmhurst question applies specifically to Elmhurst elected officials: "Shall the Mayor, Aldermen, Clerk and Treasurer of the City of Elmhurst be PROHIBITED from simultaneously holding other public elective office in the State of Illinois after November 6, 2012?" 

If you think that our city elected officials should hold one and only one elected public office at a time, then vote YES on this question to indicate your agreement with PROHIBITING the simultaneous holding of any additional public elective office by Elmhurst elected officials.  This referendum is binding, so if it passes with a YES vote, then it would become the explicit policy of the City of Elmhurst that elected city officials hold one and only one elected public office at a time.

Let's pass the Elmhurst referendum with a YES vote and clarify for the future that "One Person—One Office" is the rule.

—Tamara Brenner, Elmhurst

Scott October 22, 2012 at 01:36 PM
I can't believe the way this was worded wasn't driven by a direct attempt to confuse the voters so somebody will ultimately have the ability to hold two offices. If it wasn't intentional, at a minimum it was careless on the part of whoever drafted the wording in that they did not make the wording consistent so the voters would not be confused.
Bob Howard October 23, 2012 at 02:52 PM
@ Scott, I agree with you that it will be confusing to many. However, there wasn't imo an intent to confuse. The County approved theirs first. The way I see it, the non binding County question was worded in a very plain spoken way; that a NO vote is like saying NO to double dipping politicians. Whereas the City's binding question HAD TO be framed in the affirmative, meaning Voters have to approve (through a YES vote) a change in the structure of local government (which will, if approved, prohibit/outlaw/eliminate "double dipping" aka "dual office holding" for Elmhurst politicians). Is it going to lead to some confusion ? obviously, but what's done is done. As long as one understands what the word "prohibit" means, it should not be that confusing.

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