Some political wrangling has been taking place in Urbana between Mayor Prussing and some local political groups centered around the Citizens for Instant Runoff Voting, and made up of local Green Party representatives, as well as Libertarians and self-described political progressives.
Urbana allows for the petitioning and placement of referenda on voting ballots through Special Township Meetings where citizens are allowed to attend and vote on the placement of such items. The local group Citizens for IRV has been working to place non-binding referenda on Urbana and Cunningham Township ballots for the Nov. 4 election. This attempt to add referenda to the Nov. 4 ballot had been attempted by Citizens for IRV previously through the Annual Township Meeting. However, this attempt at adding ballot referenda was prevented at the Annual Township Meeting by Mayor Prussing and local Democrats who voted not to add the discussion of those referenda to the agenda for that meeting.
Following that meeting, in a press release from the Prairie Green Party Press Officer, Tom Abram stated, “The Prairie Green Party denounced the efforts of current and former Democratic officials to stifle the voice of the people at the annual township meeting […] There was a concerted effort by prominent Democrats to prevent these items from even being discussed by the body.”
In a release to the email@example.com it was announced that, through petition, the Urbana Citizens for IRV (Instant Runoff Voting) had scheduled, through Urbana City & Township Clerk Phyllis Clark, a Special Township Meeting to discuss and vote on the placement of two non-binding referendum on the Nov. 4 ballot. This township meeting was scheduled on June 6 by Phyllis Clark 6:00 pm on Monday, June 30 at Urbana City Hall.
Yet, once again Mayor Prussing appears to be attempting to prevent the Citizens for IRV from placing referenda on the ballot. This time she has announced a Special Township Meeting at the last minute, Friday, June 13 wherein she is proposing the addition of three of her own referenda. This meeting scheduled for tonight June 16 at 7 p.m. introduces referenda, which would preempt those proposed by Citizens for IRV by fulfilling the limit of three ballot referenda.
If successful, Mayor Prussing will have effectively prevented several local groups of their due democratic representation.
The Special Township Meetings will be held at the Urbana City Building, 400 S. Vine St. at 7 p.m. tonight June 16 to discuss and vote on Mayor Prussing’s referenda and on June 30 at 6 p.m. to discuss those proposed by Citizens for IRV.
Two Referenda Proposed by Citizens for IRV
1. ”Shall the Urbana City Council place a binding referendum on the ballot asking voters if they want to change the voting method used in municipal primary and general elections to Instant Runoff Voting?”
- Instant Runoff Voting allows voters to rank order candidates as to their preference, 1st choice, 2nd choice, etc.
- Once the vote is counted, if no candidate has received at least 50% of the vote an electronic runoff is initiated.
- The candidate with the fewest votes is eliminated and the second choice votes on those ballots are then counted.
- This process continues until one of the candidates receives at least 50% of the votes cast.
2. “Shall Cunningham Township and the City of Urbana post all contracts and itemized expenses on their websites so that taxpayers can see how their money is being spent?”
Three Referenda Proposed by Mayor Prussing
1. Do you support restrictions on the use of cell phones by drivers and bicyclists using public streets and by pedestrians crossing streets who become so engrossed in their phone conversation that they are a danger to themselves and others?
2. Shall the method of election of officers in Cunningham Township be maintained as currently established so that the candidate with the greatest number of votes is elected?
3. Shall Cunningham Township continue to provide financial information and assessment information that meets or exceeds all legal requirements for full disclosure and add new methods by request of individuals so long as it will not add undue expense?