The number of precincts in Tazewell County will be reduced from the current total of 135 to 109.

The Tazewell County Board took a resolution to redistrict the county off the table and approved the measure by a 13-6 vote at Wednesday’s meeting. County Board member Michael Harris was absent. Before the resolution came to a vote, there was extensive discussion as to whether or not state statutes authorize counties to re-precinct.

“As I understand it, this proposed plan will allow us to eliminate one ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) non-compliant polling place,” said County Board member Bill Atkins, who voted in favor of the resolution. “It is my preference that, if we’re going to be sued, we be sued over whether or not we have the authority to re-precinct, not whether or not we’re denying the right to vote to individuals who are disabled.”

In addition to eliminating one ADA non-compliant polling place, the redistricting plan will add a polling site at East Peoria City Hall for Fondulac District 2. Tazewell County will require 130 fewer election judges for presidential and gubernatorial elections.

“I think there’s merit in this project,” said Board member Nancy Proehl, who voted against the resolution and recommended tabling it for further discussion. “I think we need to do something, and I think (Tazewell County Clerk John Ackerman) is coming up with a lot of ideas and positive actions that could really make a difference and save us some money. I just don’t think that I, as a voter on this board, am ready to make that decision.”

Townships that will be affected by the redistricting are Cincinnati, Delavan, Elm Grove, Fondulac, Groveland, Little Mackinaw, Mackinaw, Morton, Pekin, Sand Prairie, Tremont and Washington. 

“We’ll have new voter ID cards (mailed) to every resident in Tazewell County toward the end of August,” said Ackerman. “They’ll have their polling location so they’ll know where to go vote.”

In other business, the board approved replacement hires of a deputy for the Tazewell County Sheriff’s Department and an environmental health sanitarian for the county Health Department. An amendment to the official Hopedale Township zoning map passed by a 19-1 margin.