Voters in Urbana precincts 4A (split 2) and 4B (split 2) heading to the polls on Nov. 8 may notice an unfamiliar issue on their ballots – a levy for Salem Township fire and EMS services.
After absentee ballots were issued to voters in these two precincts, which include residents living both in Salem Township and within the northern boundaries of the city’s corporation limits, concerns over the legitimacy of Salem Township’s five-year, 3-mill replacement levy for fire and EMS services appearing on the ballots of city residents was expressed to the Champaign County Board of Elections. Areas that are in both Salem Township and the city include Grimes Circle, Grimes Avenue, Nutwood Place and portions of North Main Street and Millerstown Road.
After researching the matter and consulting with Champaign County Auditor Karen Bailey, Board of Elections Director Meredith Bodey confirmed on Friday that those living in both jurisdictions should not be voting on levies relating to township services.
According to Bodey, the Salem Township fire and EMS levy should state it is “exclusive of Urbana Corporation,” and thus shouldn’t be on ballots in Urbana precincts 4A (split 2) and 4B (split 2).
“This (fire and EMS levy language) was sent to the (Salem Township) trustees after I got the language back from the state for their review before printing the ballots,” Bodey said.
While voters in these precincts may be surprised when they cast their ballots this general election, Bodey said the issue will work itself out during the tabulation period.
“This is an easy enough fix for the election process as any votes on this levy in these 4th Ward splits will not be counted one way or the other,” she said.
As for future elections, Bodey added, “The only thing the people in these splits should be voting on (in regards to the township) would be the Salem Township trustees.”
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-652-1331 (ext. 1774) or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.