Updated: Rantoul voters approve districting proposal by 54 percent majority

RANTOUL -- By a 54 percent majority, Rantoul residents approved a proposal to divide the village into six village board districts. The vote passed 1,723-1,450.

Voters currently elect trustees on an at-large basis, with the highest vote-getters elected regardless of where they reside in the community. That will all change, but it won't happen until April 2021, when all of the trustee seats will be up for election, with three of the seats elected for two years and the other three for four years as decided by the village board. Afterward, the trustees will have staggered terms.

The change will not affect the April 2019 village board election.

The board will have to divide the village into six districts of approximately equal population on or before Sept. 1, 2020. It must be done no less than 30 days before the first day for the filing of nominating petitions for the next succeeding election.

The group Rantoul Residents for Representation, in proposing the change to a six-district village alignment, decried a lack of representation for south Rantoul -- noting that all of the current trustees live north of U.S. 136. A sizable portion of the village's residents live south of the highway.

Chairman Mike Schlosser said the group "recognized the need for better representation and more accountability from our elected village trustees." He called it "the foundation for a grassroots referendum" to give voters a chance at the ballot box.

Schlosser predicted that "electing trustees by districts will foster greater participation from those marginalized residents and neighborhoods in our community. The passage of the referendum is symbolic of the voice of Rantoul's men and women calling for better representation and accountability, and a more balanced opportunity to participate in the democratic process."

Rantoul Mayor Chuck Smith congratulated the group on its efforts.

"Now we will have to embrace new ideas and see how it is going to work inside our local government system," Smith said.

Democrats rode to victory throughout Champaign County.

Dem Darlene Kloeppel defeated Republican 40,833 to 36,480 for the newly created county executive position.

For county clerk, Democrat Aaron Ammons defeated Republican Matt Grandone by a 41,710-35,387 count.

Laurel Lunt Prussing, also a Democrat, defeated Republican John Farney for treasurer, 41-629 to 35,239.

Rantoul resident and chief sheriff’s deputy Allen E. Jones, a Republican, lost to Democrat Dustin Heuerman 41,894 to 34,428 in the race for county sheriff.

Another Rantoul Republican, Diane Michaels, who was appointed interim auditor, fell to Democrat George Danos in the auditor’s race, 42,526 to 33,492.

Republicans did win in one area race for county board.

In District 1, which encompasses the Fisher area, Republican James E. Goss defeated Democrat Ben Chapman 5,520 to 2,614.

In District 2, which takes in the Rantoul, Ludlow, Thomasboro, Gifford and Penfield areas, Republican Jodi Wolken was unopposed for a four-year seat, and Republican John Clifford likewise ran without opposition for a two-year seat.

Republican Mike Marron, who was appointed to fill the 104th District Illinois House seat formerly held by Chad Hays, defeated Democrat Cynthia Cunningham for election to the seat 20,298 to 15,950.

Voters returned incumbent Republican John Shimkus to his 15th District U.S. House seat by an overwhelming margin. Shimkus defeated Democrat Kevin Gaither 173,411 to 66,987.

Statewide, Gifford native Mike Frerichs was re-elected Illinois treasurer by a large margin with 2,386,887 votes. Republican Jim Dodge pulled in 1,655,579 votes.

For governor, Democrat JB Pritzker toppled incumbent Republican Bruce Rauner with 2.276 million votes to Rauner’s 1.661 million votes.

Urbana resident Erika Harold, a Republican, fell to Democrat Kwame Raoul for Illinois attorney general, 2.285 million to 1.838 million.

Democrat Jesse White retained his office as Illinois secretary of state, downing Republican Jason Helland, 2.881 million to 1.262 million.

For Illinois comptroller, Democrat Susan Mendoza downed Republican Darlene Senger 2,504 million to 1,585 million.




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