Very Light Turnout Expected in Urbana Council Primary

February 21, 2011

Champaign County Clerk Gordy Hulten expects as few as 100 voters to turn out Tuesday for a city council race in which the challenger has suspended his campaign.

He said Urbana's Ward 2 race between council member Eric Jakobsson and Brian Dolinar is costing the county about $7,000. Dolinar quit campaigning more than a week ago after a meeting with his opponent. He said Jakobsson will make a good council member, and was happy to see he was knocking on doors to garner support. Hulten admits he would like to see more of a contested race.

"I think given that the county's spending the money to administer the election, I would think that would be the least that they could do," Hulten said. "But on the other hand, it's our job and our responsibility at the county clerk's office to run the election. And so we're going to do it as cost efficiently and effectively as possible. And for the 100 or 200 or 300 voters that we have tomorrow, we're going to make sure that they get first class service."

Hulten said much of the cost for this election is the result of state mandates. They have required his office to remain open the last three weekends for early and absentee voting, while his staff receives overtime pay. Hulten said just five voters have turned out in the last 3 and a half weeks, and none of them came in on the weekend.

"A significant piece of the cost would be reduced if the state would simply allow us to manage the election process as we can to anticipate demand instead of forcing us to have a one size, fit-all early voting and absentee voting program," Hulten said.

Story source: WILL