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One election board, not two

If Rip Van Winkle woke up today and looked at the St. Clair County website to see which candidates won on Nov. 6, he’d probably think that Rodger Cook was the newly elected county treasurer.

A week later, the county clerk’s web page still lists Cook as getting 51.94 percent of the vote with all 205 precincts reporting. Rip would have had to notice the disclaimer on a different web page, “Does not include E. St. Louis Election Commission results,” to realize that this is just a partial result.

In fact, Treasurer Charles Suarez won re-election.

It’s crazy that the complete results of countywide elections aren’t available on one official site. The county clerk adds in the East St. Louis results once the totals are official, but in 2012 that didn’t happen until Dec. 12.

Even crazier is the fact that East St. Louis, a city of 27,000 optimistically, has its own election authority. St. Clair County could easily handle the job and save taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. But the voters of East St. Louis have rejected consolidation, and county Democrats enable them by continuing to cover many of the election board’s costs.

Last year, some County Board members tried to reduce the annual pay of East St. Louis election commissioners from $4,689 to $3,200, the least allowed by state law. Supporters argued that if East St. Louis wants its own costly election authority, East St. Louis, not the county, should pay for it. But the County Board voted 20-8 to keep the subsidies fully flowing. The Democrats in control obviously consider it to their political advantage to prop up that separate board.

St. Clair County should have one election authority, not two. In the meantime, county officials at least need to provide the public with one set of results.

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