History of the Caucus in Glencoe

1930s ResidentsIn Glencoe’s earliest years, candidates for village government were selected by one or two self-appointed groups of residents. In the early 1930’s, dissatisfaction arose with the turbulence of hotly contested elections- specifically, the bitterly contested election of 1933, after which charges continued to be hurled by the two warring factions for the next two years.

Due to the lingering bad feelings, the adoption of a better system became a priority. A group of Glencoe citizens met and developed the caucus plan, which was published in the Glencoe News and then presented to the citizens of Glencoe. The Glencoe caucus system was instituted by the vote of 700 citizens at a town meeting on March 9, 1936.

The goals of the caucus system as originally conceived were to avoid the rancor which could be engendered by contested elections, and to increase communication by channeling expressions from residents through the caucus to provide a central place where individual wishes and desires could be combined and areas of the greatest interest would then become evident. This goal is achieved through a thorough process of application, interview and consideration, allowing the caucus to select candidates that can F L Wright Bridgerun unopposed and therefore eliminate contentious politics. The plan has served well and with a few exceptions, most elections since the inception of the Caucus Plan have been uncontested.

The Glencoe Caucus is governed by the Caucus Plan as stated in 1936 and amended from time to time.

Authors and former residents Ellen Kettler Paseltiner and Ellen Shubart remind us in Images of America Glencoe Illinois, that:
“ The Caucus Plan’s motto is ‘the job seeks the man (woman), the man doesn’t seek the job.’”


Sources:

  • Glencoe Lights 100 Candles, 1969;
  • Glencoe Queen of Suburbs History and Memoirs, Suzanne Weiss 1994;
  • This is Glencoe, the League of Women Voters 1963 edition.
  • Study & Recommendations by the League of Women Voters of Glencoe 1961-1963
  • Images of America Glencoe Illinois, Ellen Kettler Paseltiner and Ellen Shubart, 2002.