config

Elections

  • Sims supports plan allowing voters to cast ballot safely by mail

    sims floor 052220SPRINGFIELD—State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) offered his full support of a plan expanding vote by mail for the upcoming general election due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This proposal allows the state to act reasonably to protect its citizens,” Sims said. “We are facing an unprecedented pandemic. This measured approach will ensure that voters can safely cast their ballots from the safety of their homes.”

    Individuals who have voted in the past two years — either in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election — will be mailed an application for a vote-by-mail ballot.

    Those who registered to vote after the 2020 Primary Election will also receive an application.

    Under the plan, individuals who aren’t automatically sent an application will still be able to apply for a ballot via the State Board of Elections’ website. Applications will open the day the law takes effect.

    This legislation does not prevent in-person voting opportunities on and before Election Day.

    “Many have fought, bled and died for our right to vote, and we need to ensure that every eligible voter has the opportunity to exercise that right,” Sims said. “I am confident this plan will help voters throughout Illinois do so without risking their health.”

    Senate Bill 1863 now heads to the governor’s desk for approval.

  • Peters celebrates expansion of vote-by-mail program

    votebymail 052320SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) supported a plan expanding the state’s vote-by-mail program that moved through the Illinois Senate on Friday.

    “In this time of crisis, it’s important that we not only look to preserve people’s health, but also their right to participate in the democratic process,” Peters said. “People deserve to cast votes without having to worry about getting sick, and expanding vote-by-mail provisions accomplishes that.”

    The expansion came as part of a larger election package that made several changes to state election code in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The proposal requires election authorities to automatically send a vote-by-mail application to every person who voted in the 2018 general, 2019 consolidated or 2020 primary elections or registered to vote after the 2020 primary election. Under current law, voters must specifically request a vote-by-mail application.

    “A lot of people aren’t aware that voting by mail is available,” Peters said. “Automatically sending vote-by-mail applications gives voters the opportunity to make use of an option they didn’t know they had,” Peters said.

    In addition to vote-by-mail expansions, Senate Bill 1863 extends early voting windows, establishes curbside voting programs, modifies required qualifications for election judges and makes election day a state holiday, among other changes. Having passed both chambers of the General Assembly, it will be sent to the governor for approval.

  • Villanueva votes to make 2020 election safe and accessible

    Sen. Celina VillanuevaSPRINGFIELD – With public health concerns surrounding the 2020 General Election, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) voted to pass a historic election package out of the Illinois Senate.

    “Participating in our democracy is a right, not a privilege,” Villanueva said. “Voters need to be able to cast their ballot without putting themselves or others at risk.”

  • Illinois expanding vote by mail

    vote by mail 1200bSPRINGFIELD – Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) voted Thursday to pass a plan to guarantee that every Illinoisan who has voted within the last two years will be sent a vote by mail application for the 2020 election.

    “Voting is crucial to a functioning democracy,” Van Pelt said, speaking from Springfield while attending a special legislative session convened with social distancing measures. “We have the technology to accurately and safely ensure our voices are heard. We refuse to allow a pandemic to disrupt our self-governance.”

  • Villivalam: Voter safety a top priority during pandemic

    Sen. Ram VillivalamCHICAGO – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) has chief co-sponsored legislation to ensure that Illinoisans will be able to safely cast their ballots in the November election. The new elections safety package – a part of Senate Bill 1863 – will have expanded access to the state’s vote-by-mail program, early voting, and election day voting. 

  • Gillespie votes to expand vote by mail

    vote by mail“No one should have to risk their health to vote.”

    SPRINGFIELD – After co-sponsoring an election package that would send a vote by mail application to registered voters who participated in elections within the last two years, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) released the following statement:

    “Participation in our democracy is the right of every citizen and must be preserved. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, voters deserve to be able to cast their ballots from the safety of their homes. No one should have to risk their health to exercise our most basic political rights.

  • Link fights to expand vote-by-mail for 2020 election

    vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – A measure championed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) to help voters participate safely in the November 2020 General Election passed the Illinois Senate Friday.

    “There’s no guarantee that voters won’t still be at risk for contracting COVID-19 when they come to the polls in November,” Link said. “We have a responsibility to put measures in place to keep them safe.”

  • Peters celebrates expansion of vote-by-mail program

    vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) supported a plan expanding the state’s vote-by-mail program that moved through the Illinois Senate on Friday.

    “In this time of crisis, it’s important that we not only look to preserve people’s health, but also their right to participate in the democratic process,” Peters said. “People deserve to cast votes without having to worry about getting sick, and expanding vote-by-mail provisions accomplishes that.”

  • Hastings champions vote by mail program, makes Election Day 2020 a holiday

    vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – Prioritizing safe participation in the upcoming election, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) voted to expand voting options for Illinoisans. 

    “Our system has been shaken to its very foundation, and people are afraid about the possibility of going to the polls this November,” Hastings said. “In the interest of public health and safety, we must give our people the chance to cast their vote in a safe, secure manner.”

  • Aquino: Voting by mail protects Illinoisans’ right to choose their leaders

    Sen. Omar AquinoSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) championed legislation expanding voting access in the November 3 general election that passed out of the Illinois Senate. The measure includes provisions that make it easier for all Illinois voters to cast their ballots by mail.

    “Amid the challenges we face with the COVID-19 pandemic, I am proud to contribute to creating a pathway for Illinoisans to cast their votes in the November 3 election securely and safely,” Aquino said. “We need to make sure all Illinoisans eligible to vote can exercise their right in a way that better suits their needs, especially during this crisis.”

  • Koehler votes for safe elections

    vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – To ensure safe participation in the upcoming election, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) voted to expand voting options for Illinoisans.

    “Because we are unsure of what further consequences we could be facing this fall as we continue managing the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, we ought to offer folks more options as they consider how to cast their ballot,” Koehler said. “The promotion of safe, secure elections should not be a partisan issue.”

  • Vote by mail expansion clears Illinois Senate

    harmon floor 4 052220SPRINGFIELD -- The Illinois Senate approved an expanded vote-by-mail program that has garnered increased popularity across the state and country amid public health concerns over voting and elections during the COVID-19 outbreak.

    Senate President Don Harmon voted for the expanded vote-by-mail program and issued the following statement:

    “This is an overdue step toward modern convenience and safety in our elections,” said Harmon. “It’s unfortunate it took a global pandemic to convince people of its value, but expanding vote by mail is a needed election reform that I hope voters will utilize.”

  • Morrison: Vote by mail is essential for voter safety

    morrison floor2 52220SPRINGFIELD —Thanks to efforts from State Senator Julie Morrison, Illinoisans will have a more accessible way to cast their ballots from the safety of their homes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, standing in line to vote isn’t safe for many, specifically older populations and those at higher health risks. 

    “COVID-19 has made congregating in small and enclosed spaces more dangerous,” Morrison said. “Long lines to get to the ballot box would require people to choose between their health and their right to vote.”

  • Morrison pushes for expansion of vote-by-mail program

    Vote by mailDEERFIELD — As members of the General Assembly have arrived back to Springfield, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is urging her colleagues to take up her bill, a package that would expand the state’s vote-by-mail program for the November election among other changes related to elections.

    “People should not have to worry about their health and safety when exercising their right to vote,” Morrison said. “If people don’t feel safe going to restaurants, they won’t feel safe standing in line to cast their vote.”

    Illinoisans would have more options to forego traditional polling places and cast their ballots from the safety of their homes during the November 2020 election under a measure sponsored by Morrison. She would like to see everyone who has voted in the last two years receive a ballot, which would then be returned to the county elections office and counted on Election Day.

  • Morrison: Vote-by-mail simplifies people’s right to vote

    Vote-by-mail applicationSPRINGFIELD — As Illinois’ date to choose the nominees for a new U.S. president at the ballot box was on the horizon, the worry of low voter turnout due to the coronavirus pandemic loomed in the background.

    “Illinoisans had to choose between keeping themselves healthy or casting their vote,” State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) said.

    That worry turned into a reality Tuesday, after some counties throughout the state saw turnouts 20% lower than during previous presidential primaries. In Sangamon County, the turnout was 22.2% — before counting mail-in ballots — compared to the 43.4% turnout in 2016.

  • Harmon seeks to expose dark money donors shielded by “nonprofit” status

    harmon 031517SPRINGFIELD – As Illinois’ finances deteriorate and gridlock prevails in Springfield, dark money groups spend millions of dollars to influence elections and public policy without disclosing the sources of their funding.

    That frequently leaves taxpayers and elected officials in the dark about a group’s true motivations for supporting or opposing legislation or policies.

    Senate Bill 2089, sponsored by Senator Don Harmon (D-Oak Park), would require greater transparency of politically active dark money groups by requiring them to register as political committees and disclose their donors.

    “Accountability for political donations is vitally important in our system of government and elections,” Harmon said. “For too long, dark money groups have been able to hide behind the cloak of their nonprofit status and conceal the true intent of their work, which is to raise unlimited amounts of money and peddle political influence, unbeknownst to the average voter and taxpayer.

    Harmon noted that the groups in question are not the charities and civic organizations for whom tax-exempt status was intended.

    “These are political groups organized specifically to take advantage of nonprofit protections and hide their political activity,” he said.

    Harmon added that as Illinois continues to see unprecedented spending by candidates and outside groups seeking to influence elections, it’s important for voters that the General Assembly closes loopholes that allow runaway spending by dark money groups.

    “I think nearly all of us can all agree that a flood of secret political donations by billionaires and corporations is not good for our state,” Harmon said.

    Senate Bill 2089 advanced out of the Senate’s Executive Committee in an 11-3 vote Wednesday.

    Numerous good-government organizations indicated support for the measure, including the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, the Better Government Association, Illinois PIRG, and the 2,700 members of the League of Women Voters of Illinois.

    Only two organizations indicated they are opposed to the measure, although they did not send representatives to Wednesday’s hearing to explain why: the Illinois Policy Institute and Americans For Prosperity. Both are dark money groups that would be required to disclose their contributions and expenditures when they bill becomes law.

  • Tom Cullerton’s DuPage County fix signed into law

    tcullerton VILLA PARK- DuPage County will now be able to honor a series of voter referendums from the November 2016 election.

    Villa Park Democrat State Senator Tom Cullerton’s law to correct a mistake made by the DuPage County Election Commission last fall was signed into law today.

    “The referendums passed with overwhelming support,” Cullerton said. “This is a small step to guarantee the will of the people is the law of the land.”

    State law currently requires notice to be published no more than 30 days and not less than 10 days before an election. However, the notice was published in the local papers 33 days in advance due to a clerical error made by the election commission.

    “This is a one-time deal to avoid costly litigation,” Cullerton said. “Voters voiced their opinions in good faith, now it is time to abide by their wishes.”

    This law is a one-time correction that only applies to DuPage County for the November 2016 elections.

    Senate Bill 3319 passed the Senate and House with bipartisan support.

  • Biss: Illinois needs small donor matching to amplify local voices in government

    biss 040616SPRINGFIELD – The only way to blunt the influence that wealthy donors maintain over government is to return power to the people by amplifying the voice of small donors through public financing of elections, Senator Daniel Biss said Thursday.

    Biss, an Evanston Democrat, is sponsoring Senate Bill 1424, which creates the Small Donor Democracy Matching System for Fair Elections Act.

    The legislation would establish a small donor matching system for statewide races in Illinois, including governor, attorney general, comptroller, treasurer, secretary of state, state senators and state representatives.

    Small donor matching empowers average people to compete financially and ideologically with special interests and wealthy donors. It also opens up the playing field to more diverse candidates for office and offers more options at the ballot box.

    “This is about who decides,” Biss said. “Life is getting harder for more and more Americans every day because people who are already doing well have all the power in government – powerful people who are shamefully out of touch with the people they represent.

    “We’re only going to fix this problem if we weaken the connection between money and political power and make it easier for small donors’ voices to be heard.”

    Senate Bill 1424 would weaken the influence the money in Illinois elections by doing the following:

    • Contributions between $25 and $150 from local donors would be matched 6:1 by public funds.
    • Limits would be set on the amount of public funds available to each candidate.
    • Candidates would not be able to accept contributions of more than $500 from a single donor.

    The cost of the program is estimated at $1 per Illinois resident annually, according to The Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, which supports the proposal.

    “It’s time for Illinois to step up to the plate and implement this long-overdue reform, which would ensure that the voices of local donors are amplified in Illinois elections,” David Melton, ICPR senior advisor said. “Everyone should have an opportunity to run for office and participate in the political process, not just the 1 percent of wealthy donors and candidates.”

    Jay Young, political director for Common Cause Illinois, noted that Illinois witnessed unprecedented campaign spending in 2016, including nine statehouse races that exceeded $2 million in contributions and a comptroller’s race that soared past the $12 million mark.

    “The voices of ordinary citizens in this state are being drowned out right now by the unlimited spending of wealthy political donors,” Young said. “We believe that proposals like the one Senator Biss has put forward will allow the people to take back their democracy from these powerful special interest groups.”

  • Senator Michael Hastings works to protect Illinois’ democratic values

    hastings 012617SPRINGFIELD-  To protect Illinois’ democratic values, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) introduced legislation to revive the investigation on Russia’s deliberate interference in America’s presidential elections.

    Hastings introduced Senate Resolution 94 urging the federal government to complete their investigation and inform the American people on the unprecedented security breach that may have influenced the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

    “Russia should not have any influence on the destiny of the American people,” Hastings said. “Elections are a sacred practice established by our founding forefathers to advance our democracy and protect our nation’s independence.”

    Senate Resolution 94 urges a bipartisan investigation by Congress and supports the call for a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) to determine the extent of Russian intervention in the 2016 presidential elections.

    Hastings finds it appalling that the facts have not been laid out for the people of Illinois.

    “As a nation, we need to take all necessary action to disarm our adversaries and protect the heart of democracy--our elections,” Hastings said.

    In July of 2016, the Illinois State Board of Elections reported an attack that targeted the Illinois Voter Registration System Database. 

    Hastings introduced Senate Resolution 93 to require the Illinois State Board of Elections to produce a final comprehensive report outlining the nature of the breach, system audits and an outline of all preventative measures to ensure similar cyber interferences never happen again.

    “We cannot allow this attack on democracy to go unresolved,” Hastings said. “The citizens of Illinois deserve to not only be informed on this breach of trust but be reassured the proper steps were taken to guarantee this will never happen again.”

    Senate Resolution 93 and Senate Resolution 94 will be heard in the Senate this legislative session.

  • Manar, McCann seek to close executive ethics loophole

    manar mccann 101916