Board of Election Commissioners – Transfer all Election Management and Oversight to Cook County Clerk

Savings: $16.1 million

The Board of Election Commissioners conducts and supervises all local, county, state and federal elections for the City of Chicago and is responsible for the certification of election results.[1]  The Cook County Clerk’s office performs these activities in suburban Cook County.

In this option all responsibilities of the Board of Election Commissioners would be transferred to the Cook County Clerk’s office.


Budgeted Spending









Sources: 2008-2011 Annual Appropriation Ordinances
*Includes $7.5 million for special runoff elections budgeted in Finance General

In the last four years, the City has budgeted an average of $16.1 million annually for the Board of Election Commissioners. Thus, if the Board of Election Commissioners were dissolved and its responsibilities given to Cook County, the City would save $16.1 million annually.

Chicago created the Board of Election Commissioners and adopted the provisions of the City Election Law by a referendum held pursuant to the Illinois Election Code.  Dissolving the Board and transferring its responsibilities to the Cook County Clerk’s office may either require the City to legally reject the City Election Law as defined in the Illinois Election Code or an amendment to the Illinois Election Code.

Proponents might argue that consolidating all election activities for Cook County in one department would result in lower administrative costs due to less duplication and lower purchasing costs.  There may be additional savings as the City currently hires outside legal counsel, while the Cook County Clerk uses the States Attorney.[2]


Opponents might argue that the City would lose control of municipal elections, which would now be overseen by an elected official who is elected only in part by City residents.  Additionally, Cook County has its own budget difficulties and might not be able to handle these additional responsibilities without reducing the number of polling locations or other election services.

Budget Details

Dept: Board of Election Commissioners, 039 and Finance General, 099 Bureau: NA
Fund: Corporate, 0100 Approp Code: Various
The appropriation is located on page 104 and 254 of the 2011 Annual Appropriation Ordinance.






[1] City of Chicago. “2011 Annual Appropriation Ordinance”. pg. 104

[2] City of Chicago and Cook County. “Joint Committee on City-County Collaboration”. June 2011. pg. 63.