In the city of Bloomington, the job of mayor is not ceremonial.
That’s different from many cities across America, which use the council-manager form of local government.
In cities that use a council-manager style of government, the city council hires a city manager to oversee the city’s administration and operations, including the appointment of department heads.
The mayor in a council-manager system will typically preside over city council meetings and serve as the city’s representative on various formal occasions. That’s why the council-manager form of local government is sometimes called a weak-mayor system.
But Bloomington is a strong-mayor city, where it’s the mayor who oversees the operations of city government and hires the department heads.
This year, Bloomington voters will elect a new mayor to a four-year term. Incumbent John Hamilton has announced he is not seeking re-election.
At its meeting last Thursday, Monroe County’s three-person election board got an update on the state election division’s effort to update voter registration rolls, with a postcard mailing.
Registered voters should have received a postcard mailing in late May, confirming their registration to vote at the address where the postcard was delivered. Registration can also be confirmed online. [It’s the “Check Voting Status” option.]
The registration confirmation postcards are part of the state’s process for reducing outdated voter records. For people who receive an accurate card with their name on it, no action is requested.
Election officials want people who received a postcard with a name they don’t recognize to write “Return to Sender” on the card and put it in a mailbox.
At its regular meeting last Thursday, Monroe County’s three-member election board voted to forward a case it considers to be possible voter registration fraud to the county prosecutor’s office for review.
The case came after the Nov. 3, 2020 election took place, and does not involve ballots that have been cast in an election.
As described at the board’s meeting, the case involved the registration of a voter name that did not match the name on the driver’s license that was used as a credential for the registration.
“It seems like a made-up name,” said Monroe County’s election supervisor Karen Wheeler at last Thursday’s meeting.
Election board chair Carolyn VandeWiele acknowledged at Thursday’s meeting that staff erred when they accepted a name as valid for registration that did not match the name on the credential.
The name of the person now under investigation was not mentioned at the board’s Thursday meeting.
Based on details of the story that were mentioned at the board meeting, The Square Beacon reached out to journalist Margaret Menge, now a Bloomington resident. Menge confirmed that she had submitted information through the online system, with the outcome, as she described it: “They registered a person who doesn’t exist.”