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The citizen-initiated referendums called for a hybrid representation system with four districts. As Skokie is a home-rule municipality, the referendum supersedes this section of State election law.
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The Village Board is committed to a professional and transparent process for implementing the electoral referendums approved by voters and they delegated the responsibility of overseeing the project to the Village Manager. In June 2023, the Board approved a contract with Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins (KTJ) to assist the Village in implementing the three referendums in compliance with election laws. Following the public process to develop a proposed electoral district map and implementation plan, the Village Board will review the recommended proposal and will be responsible for approving a final map and implementation plan. This approval will include Village ordinances and ultimately codifies the changes in the Village code. Members of the public will have the opportunity to provide comments to the Village Board on this issue, as they do with all issues that come before the Board.
The Village implemented a Google Translator tool on its website, www.skokie.org, many years ago. This tool is capable of translating web pages into more than 130 languages. Information and updates posted on the Electoral Changes web page can be translated using the tool. In addition, the Village’s three public meetings were streamed and are now available on the Village’s YouTube channel, which offers automatic closed captioning in many different languages. Public comments in any language are welcome.
The draft implementation plan proposes staggering terms as shown in the chart below:
The draft implementation plan proposes that District Trustees will serve an initial two-year term beginning in 2025 and beginning in 2027 will serve four-year terms going forward. This initial two-year term is necessary to transition from elections currently held every four years to elections held every two years.
Yes. Illinois Municipal Code requires that a person running as a trustee from a district as part of a hybrid election system have been a resident of that district for at least 6 months prior to their election, and that only electors (voters) of a district shall elect a trustee from that district.
This state requirement is not addressed in the Village’s proposed ordinance so as not to be duplicative.
No. The Referendum Implementation Team is holding several public meetings to provide information and solicit feedback from all interested community members and organizations.
Probably not. Although following existing political and legislative boundaries to the extent possible is a positive outcome, it is not a guiding principle in the Village’s districting process. When drafting the proposed district maps, the Referendum Implementation Team followed a set of “districting principles” that can be found at skokie.org/electoralreferendums.
The consultant and Village staff followed a set of “districting principles” that can be found at skokie.org/electoralreferendums. Income was not a defining principle and is not a Voting Rights Act issue.
No. Village budget dollars or Village services will not be distributed or organized based on districts. Although districts are intended to give specific individuals and geographic areas a distinct voice, district trustees will continue to serve with the fundamental and overarching goal of the unified and harmonious operation and progression of the Village as a whole.
Outside of the initial implementation costs of $50,000 and redistricting costs every 10 years following the completion of the census (estimated at approximately $15,000) there are no real costs to the Village of the three referendums or the new electoral system. There will likely by an increased time commitment on the part of the Village Clerk depending on how many people file to run for trustee or the number of petitions that are challenged.
Mapping consultant Peter Creticos from the Institute for Work & the Economy, attorneys Jason Guisinger and Scott Uhler, partners at Klein, Thorpe & Jenkins, Village Manager John Lockerby, Assistant Village Manager Nick Wyatt, Management Analyst Alex Franz, Purchasing Director Michael Aleksic, Communications Manager Meredith Gioia and Communications and Community Engagement Director Patrick Deignan.
All community feedback and comments were shared with the Village’s referendums implementation team, which discussed and worked to implement these suggestions while considering the Village’s districting principles.
In order to evenly balance district populations in accordance with the “one person, one vote” principle, the Village is proposing extending the northern boundary of District 4 to Greenleaf Street between Gross Point Road and Terminal Avenue.
This accommodates public input received from residents living west of Lockwood, between Main and Dempster Streets, and maintains Greenleaf Street as a common north-south divider between portions of proposed Districts 1 and 4 and Districts 2 and 3.
Although Main Street is a major thoroughfare, using it as the exclusive divider between Districts 1 and 4 resulted in draft maps with populations that were not balanced.
As part of the district map development process, the Village’s mapping consultant and implementation team considered and tested a variety of potential boundaries for all four districts, including District 2, while also considering the Village’s guiding districting principles.
Skokie Boulevard and Gross Point Road are major thoroughfares in Skokie and serve as natural east-west dividers between proposed District 1 and 2, while the golf course and Dempster Street serve as natural boundaries for a large portion of the district’s south. Extending the district’s remaining southern boundary to Greenleaf Street east of Crawford Avenue takes into account feedback received from communities of interest, allows School District 65 to remain entirely within one electoral district, and maintains a near-ideal population balance in accordance with the “one person, one vote” principle.
Yes. The Village considered all public comments and feedback received during the map development process, and considered many potential district boundaries.
Due to the large population contained in the area between Skokie Boulevard, Niles Center Road and Gross Point Road, shifting this geographic area from proposed District 2 to District 1 would require significant changes to all other proposed district boundaries in order to maintain an even population distribution, resulting in a map that would not adhere to the Village’s districting principles as closely.
In developing the proposed map, the Village’s consultant used school districts as proxies for communities of interest. Public testimony provided guidance to other communities of interest. The consultant incorporated school district boundaries to the extent possible while also considering other guiding districting principles.
Populations within Skokie’s seven elementary school districts vary greatly, ranging from a low of 294 to a high of 22,021 for School District 68 (the ideal trustee district population is 16,956). Exclusively following Skokie school district boundaries as part of the Village’s electoral district mapping process would result in an unconstitutional map.