Illinois Secretary of State Libertarian nominee: Steve Dutner

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On Sept. 4, Libertarian Steve Dutner appeared before the Chicago Sun-Times Editorial Board. Watch the video above to find out why he’s running for re-election as Illinois secretary of state.

The Chicago Sun-Times also sent the candidates running for Illinois secretary of state a list of questions to find out their views on a range of important issues facing the state of Illinois. Dutner submitted the following responses:

What will be your priorities as secretary of state?


1. Privatize the Illinois Drivers Services Department:

Currently, 18 states have privatized at least some aspects of their DMV/Driver Services. States with private DMVs/Driver Services report shorter wait times across the board because there is a profit incentive in place to give people good customer service – an element missing from any government monopoly. All but one of these states report a lower cost per transaction as the result of market competition. Looking over the results of these states will help implement the correct course of action for Illinois. Shutting down government operated Driver Services gradually, while allowing the Illinois Department of Transportation to absorb some of its functions will give entrepreneurs time to set up shop and provide Illinois residents with options. Once the transition is complete, the cost of government to license drivers will be greatly reduced and certain revenue streams can be eliminated. A major part of my plan to privatize includes setting up kiosks in locations like grocery stores, libraries, and colleges. Basic transactions will be automated and competing companies will cover the costs with advertising.

2. Reduce spending:

In addition to saving costs by privatizing Driver Services, wasteful spending on grants that do not pertain to the library function of the Secretary of State will be cut, as they should not be going through this office. To help with renewal and fee costs, renewal cards and advertising space will be on the Cyberdrive web page. However, House Bill 394 limits who can advertise. We need to open this up to other industries that are important in Illinois. Recently, the Libertarian Party Comptroller Candidate Claire Ball (Ball v. Madigan) won a case allowing the medical marijuana industry to donate to campaigns. Medical marijuana is legal in Illinois and full legalization of marijuana is right around the corner. We need to promote Illinois businesses. Legitimate businesses have the right to advertise.

I will also look to reduce the Secretary of State Police functions and eliminate redundancy with the other ten state police organizations.

Additionally, I will be supporting legislation to remove the front license plate requirement, resulting in an estimated savings of approximately $800,000. These, and other methods of cost reduction, will allow me to cut down on fees for drivers elsewhere.


3. Protecting civil liberties and the right to privacy:

The Secretary of State’s Office is responsible for investigating identity theft. Traveling around Illinois, citizens have told me their concerns over protecting their privacy. People are concerned that identity theft is happening in the Secretary of State’s office. Communication between the Secretary of State and other offices has been very faulty, inaccurate and inefficient. Information does not match between state offices. This lack of technological competence makes the process of updating personal information difficult for residents of Illinois. I would like to see one entity record the information and then other offices can download that information from that entity. Streamlining this recordkeeping will allow for increased efficiency and will be less costly to the citizens of Illinois.

Identity theft is a very personal issue for me. Earlier in the campaign, my campaign email was hacked and a racist email from this email account was sent to Mr. White. The Secretary of State police showed up at my house to investigate. These officers were very kind and compassionate to me but they were told to close the case the very next day. I asked them why they couldn’t investigate this fraud and identity theft further and they told me they just didn’t have the resources. The Secretary of State’s office already spends a lot of money on this issue. Why isn’t this money used more efficiently and effectively?

Who is Steve Dutner?

He’s running for: Ill. Secretary of State His political/civic background: I have been involved in politics at the local level for nearly twenty years. I have fought against tax increases, spoken at board meetings, and have been involved in activism for the betterment of my community for the majority of my life. I was formerly the Activism Director for the Libertarian Party of Illinois and have received awards for outreach and the prestigious Activist of the Year award that is given out every year at our convention. I am a Hanover Township Committeeman, a State Organizing Committee representative for the Libertarian Party of Illinois (representing Dekalb County), the Vice Chair of the DuPage Libertarian Party, on the Convention Committee for our 2019 convention, and have been a member of the Fox Valley Libertarians since 1999. I have been on numerous campaign teams as a Campaign Coordinator. These campaigns included Julie Fox for Illinois Comptroller, Claire Ball for Illinois Comptroller, and Kent McMillen for US Senate. I was also recently elected the Secretary of my local Toastmasters and really enjoy speaking to an audience whom I consider the voters of Illinois. His occupation: Sales His education: Associate of Science Focus: Psychology/Science Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society Elgin Community College Bachelor of Arts Management and Leadership Judson University Campaign website: Twitter: @DutnerForIL

Illinois continues to struggle with massive debt and unfunded pension liabilities. How will you trim expenses in the office of secretary of state?

Dutner: In addition to saving costs by privatizing Driver Services, wasteful spending on grants not pertaining directly to the Secretary of State’s office will be cut. For example, funds are channeled through the Secretary of State’s office to be issued as grants for programs that are unrelated to the function of this office.

To help with renewal and fee costs, renewal cards and advertising space will be on the Cyberdrive web page. Secretary of State Police functions will be reduced where there is redundancy with the other ten state police organizations.

What more might be done to reduce the incidence of drunk driving in Illinois?

Dutner: I believe this is an area where Illinois has had success. “The number of drunk driving deaths in Illinois has decreased by about 43%…” since the late 1990s (Northwest Herald, Aug. 19, 2017). As someone who lost a family member by a drunk driver, I take driving under the influence very seriously. With the implementation of the BAIID, I believe this issue has already been addressed.

A more recent threat to safety on our roads is distracted driving. Drivers who are on the phone or texting are causing accidents. What can be done about it?

Dutner: Some of the research on this suggests that passing stricter texting-while-driving laws has the opposite effect. For example, “[p]revious studies have found that drivers try to evade enforcement efforts by holding their phones below the line of sight of other drivers.” Laws have been passed to discourage texting while driving, yet it still happens as drivers will hide this behavior. Whether through texting, talking on the phone, or engaging in other behaviors that distract the driver from the road (i.e. billboards, eating while driving, etc.), this is still considered reckless driving which is already against the law. It is redundant to pass additional laws addressing reckless driving as Illinois has already increased the penalties for texting and driving. As a Libertarian, I feel passing redundant laws is a strain on government resources.

Two major automakers, Toyota of Japan and Audi of German, have requested federal permission to use “adaptive beam” headlights — the standard in Europe — to improve the ability of drivers to see at night. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been sitting on the request for four years. Do you favor adaptive beam headlights, and as Illinois secretary of state would you advocate for them?

Dutner: I do not understand why adaptive beam technology has not taken off in the US. “The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which represents major automakers on Washington policy issues, has advocated for altering outdated U. S. regulations to allow the adoption of technology currently available in Europe and Japan that could vastly improve headlight performance. The so-called adaptive beam headlights dim the light aimed at oncoming motorists to reduce glare while maintaining high beams on the road ahead to ensure visibility” (USA Today, June 3, 2017). If industry standards and research indicate that this technology can make driving safer, I will not stand in the way of this innovation.

Do you believe that the Secretary of State police are necessary? Please explain.

Dutner: There are 11 state police agencies, most of them having overlapping duties with the other ten. Secretary of State police functions need to be reduced where there are redundancies with the other agencies. I would also like to see a feasibility study done on whether or not it is possible to eliminate the Secretary of State police entirely, as I believe law enforcement should not fall under the purview of this office. The Secretary of State’s budget could be reduced dramatically if it were not responsible for policing.

Do you, or would you, accept campaign contributions from secretary of state employees, contractors or suppliers?

Dutner: I would not accept campaign contributions from Secretary of State employees, contractors or suppliers. I believe that this creates a conflict of interest and I am working for the people of Illinois, not for any sort of special interest. Accepting these contributions can be seen as a form of crony capitalism and my only special interest lies with the voters of Illinois and not with anyone “connected” with the office.

What’s the biggest difference, relevant to the running of this office, between you and your opponent?

Dutner: I am the only one with fresh solutions on my platform. I am the only one talking about privatizing Drivers Services, removing the front license plate requirement, reducing redundancy with the Secretary of State Police, identity theft, better communication between government offices, kiosks at locations like grocery stores and colleges funded by the advertising of local businesses, and seriously addressing the budget of the office, which is the largest of any other government office in Illinois.


Ahead of the historic 2018 elections, the Sun-Times is teaming up weekly with the Better Government Association, in print and online, to fact-check the truthfulness of the candidates. You can find all of the PolitiFact Illinois stories we’ve reported together here.


ENDORSEMENT: Jesse White for Illinois secretary of state

Illinois Secretary of State Democratic nominee: Jesse White

Illinois Secretary of State Republican nominee: Jason Helland

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