Voters created the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago through ballot initiatives in 1885. The Election Board was part of a reform movement to ensure professional management of voter registration records and elections -- and ending the practice of elected officials counting the ballots at their own elections. This reform was championed by civic leaders including Chicago Tribune publisher Joseph Medill, who also served as mayor in rebuilding the city after the Great Chicago Fire.
The Board of Election Commissioners manages one of the largest election authorities in the nation with approximately 1.5 million voters. In recent years, the Board has championed a series of election reforms, including: online registration, Election Day registration, automatic voter registration and expanded options for Vote By Mail and Early Voting.