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Thursday, July 11, 2013 10:44 am

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION

How many big-screen televisions does it take to keep up with the Springfield City Council?

Four. That’s how many are in place in council chambers (maximum occupancy 140) to keep track of who voted which way on ordinances and resolution. And they have hardly been up to snuff since being installed last year to replace a much smaller doo-hickey with colored lights beside each alderman’s name – red meant no, green meant yes. Under the new-and-improved system, aldermen’s votes often didn’t show up at all. No longer, vows city clerk Cecilia Tumulty, who presided over a tweak due to debut at next week’s council meeting.

The system worked during a dress rehearsal at Tuesday’s committee-of-the-whole meeting, and so it appears that the public will now be able to reliably see how 10 people voted on any given matter. Call us sentimentalists, but we would have preferred colored lights set up in front of each chair that would light up as aldermen pressed buttons, just like “Jeopardy” contestants. Or they could do it the way they do it at Sangamon County Board meetings, where the 29 members say either “aye” or “nay.”
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