The Board of Election Commissioners for Bloomington, Illinois
Established November, 1914
After a problem with election fraud, the citizens of Bloomington decided they wanted honest elections held in Bloomington with no partisan politics involved.
Illinois statute allows the formation of election commissions. During the thirty-fourth General Assembly of the State of Illinois which commenced January 7, 1885, and adjourned June 26, 1885, a section of the election law (code) enacted and/or amended on June 19 defined the procedures by which any city, village or incorporated town could create a Board of Election Commissioners.
Article II.–Election Commissioners and their Duties.
16. Section I. In every city, village and incorporated town so adopting this act, there shall be created a board of election commissioners, which shall be composed of three members, each of whom shall be designated as an election commissioner, and shall be appointed by the county court in the county in which such city, village or incorporated town shall be located. And such appointment shall be entered of record in such court, and, when qualified, such commissioner shall be an officer of such court. The first appointment of such commissioners shall be within sixty days after the adoption of this act, and those first appointed shall hold their office for the period of one, two and three years respectively, and the judge appointing them shall designate the term for which each one shall hold his office, whether for one, two or three years. If the office of either commissioner shall become vacant, it shall thereupon be the duty of such county court to appoint a successor for such unexpired term; after the expiration of the term for which each commissioner is appointed, such court shall, in the same way, nominate and appoint a successor, who shall hold his office for the period of three years, and until his successor is appointed.
Information gathered indicates that this portion of the election law was enacted due to rapid growth of cities at the time and also use of political influence.
The first meeting of the Bloomington Board of Election Commissioners was held November 18, 1914. The first commissioners were Charles F. J. Agle (Rep.), Chairman; Ned E. Dolan (Rep.), Vice Chairman; and Edward J. Carroll (Dem.), Secretary.
At the December 16, 1914 meeting, Dwight E. Frink was employed as the first chief clerk, with his term ending November 18, 1915.
The first year, three elections were held – a primary held February 23, 1915; a city election held April 6, 1915; and a judicial election held June 7, 1915.
The Board of Elections has had offices in the old McLean County Courthouse (now McLean County History Museum), the Law and Justice Center, the current Health Department Building and has been located in Room 403 of the Government Center at 115 E. Washington St. since 2004.
The Mayor of the City of Bloomington recognized the 100th anniversary of the Board of Elections by declaring November 2014 as Bloomington Board of Election Commissioners Month.