AFSCME hear from Montgomery County Clerk and Recorder
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HILLSBORO — On Tuesday, June 14 the AFSCME Sub-Chapter #87 Retirees met at the Hillsboro Farm Bureau office. There were 12 members present.
President David Spinner welcomed everyone. He called the meeting to order and asked the group to stand for the Pledge of Allegiance. Next, he asked for a moment of silence and reflection for two of our members who passed away.
Spinner introduced Special Guest Speaker, Sandy Leitheiser, Montgomery County Clerk and Recorder. Leitheiser started out by saying she wanted to help us understand some of the changes in the up-coming Primary and General Elections. She handed out a Montgomery County Primary Election Specimen Ballot to everyone and said that everyone should have received one recently, either in in their local newspaper or on-line. She also said all active Montgomery County voters were mailed new Voter ID cards in early 2022 showing their new districts. She said that the Primary Election is Tuesday, June 28, 2022. She added that early voting is open 40 days prior to the election and there has been approximately 350 voters who have already voted, either in person at the early voting center or by mail. Due to a new law, early voting can take place up through Election Day.
Leitheiser told the group that the Montgomery County Illinois website has now been changed from www.montgomeryco.com to www.MontgomeryCountyIL.gov to meet new cybersecurity laws. She said the June primary election will be held instead of the traditional March election due to the delay of the census because of the pandemic. Census results for Montgomery County included a redistricting shift in districts to meet equal population requirements. She mentioned there has been a change in the Montgomery County federal US Congressional District number from 13 to 15. The Montgomery County Illinois State Senate Legislative Districts after the 2020 census redistricting are Districts 54 and 55. The Montgomery County House Legislative Districts are divided into three Districts: 107, 108 and 110. The county website shows maps of the divided State Legislative redistricting areas.
Leitheiser commented that she would always like to see more voter participation at election time, and cited the large taxpayer expense to conduct an election. There are two established parties in Montgomery County- Democrat and Republican. For the Primary Election voters must declare their party, unless a Public Question is included at the election. If so, Voters can ask for a Non Partisan ballot with just the Public Question on it to cast their vote.
Leitheiser explained the new Unisyn paper ballot voting equipment for voting. After 16 years using the prior paper ballot equipment, the County Board voted for new election equipment technology which is still not connected to the internet; plus an ADA marking unit is also still available at each polling place. There are 29 surrounding counties in Illinois also using this equipment. The county was fortunate to receive a federal grant from American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to pay for all the new voting equipment including the ADA Unit.
Leitheiser told everyone the new voting system is both federally and state certified with the Illinois State Board of Elections. The paper ballots and voting equipment results are kept for a two year period at the county courthouse for counting and audit purposes.
Leitheiser told the group that county technical support staff help with support at the polling places to make sure the election goes smoothly. The Election Judges at the polling places are also trained before each Election and teams represent both Democrat and Republican parties.
Leitheiser stated new Election Judges are sometimes needed, and if anyone is interested to contact her office. Next, she asked Donna Spencer why she became an election judge. Spencer responded that she enjoys seeing her friends. Then she asked Guylia Grigsby the same question and she responded her mother was an election judge for 30 years and she wanted to follow in her footsteps.
Leitheiser said the Vote By Mail Ballot Dropbox is located on the north side of the Historic Courthouse and meets the specifications of the Illinois State Board of Elections. She said voters like the drive-up option to drop off their ballots. Prior to installing the drop box, she talked with some local postmasters who were supportive of this option. It is safe and secure with high powered camera features on it. She stated the Vote by Mail Ballot Dropbox takes 2 keys to open it, one red for the Republican representative and one blue for the Democrat representative. Representatives from both parties log each time the box is opened and closed and verify it’s locked. There is video surveillance and logs are completed each time ballots are collected. She stated the dropbox has been very well received.
Leitheiser said there is a Public Test of the Voting Equipment each election that is open to the general public. She told everyone that the General Election is Tuesday, November 8th, 2022 and the Consolidated Election is April 4th, 2023.
In closing Leitheiser encouraged everyone to get out and vote.
The next in-house AFSCME Retiree Sub-Chapter meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, July 12 at 1:00 p.m. in the Hillsboro Farm Bureau building. The special Guest speaker is Chad Rausch with the State Veterans Association of Christian and Montgomery Counties. New members or retired seniors interested in staying informed on current state and federal issues are welcome to attend.