State of Elections

William & Mary Law School | Election Law Society

Tag: Illinois

Illinois Voters’ Will Thwarted: State Supreme Court Enshrines Strict Limits on Ballot Initiatives, Hampering Efforts to Solve Illinois’ Biggest Problems

In August of 2016, more than 563,000 Illinois voters signed a petition for a ballot initiative that many hoped would end partisan gerrymandering in the Land of Lincoln. The Illinois State Supreme Court quickly dashed those hopes when it struck down the ballot initiative as unconstitutional. The ruling affirms the Illinois constitution’s, exceptionally limited scope of potential ballot initiatives. This ruling has implications far beyond gerrymandering: this decision limits the potential for future ballot initiatives in Illinois, and thus the resolution of many of the state’s thorniest issues..

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Illinois Residency Requirements Allow Elected Officials to Continue to Hold Public Office In Illinois, Even After Moving to Another State

By Patrick Sebastian

As a result of the residence requirements for public office in Illinois, it seems to be the case that a person could hold elected office in Illinois while living in another state. According to the Chicago Tribune, this came as a surprise to parents of Illinois’ Crete-Monee school district when concerned resident, Tammy Burnham, began asking questions about one of the school board members, Edward J. Anderson, Jr., and found out that his absence at recent school board meetings was due to the fact that he lived in Jacksonville, Florida. Records indicated that Anderson had filed for incorporation, listing himself as the corporation’s registered agent and listing his address as a Jacksonville apartment. Further, his house in Crete has been in foreclosure for months, and Burnham claims Anderson’s neighbors told her that Anderson indicated he did not plan to return. It appears based on the facts that Anderson has moved to Florida—but he remains on the school board in Crete, and he cannot be removed for having left.

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Potential Lawsuit Surrounding Illinois Districts Wherein More Registered Voters Exist Than Living Residents

By: Patrick Sebastian

There is a self-deprecating, old joke that is told from many an Illinois barstool: “Vote early and vote often.” The joke highlights the historic corruption in the Chicago and overall Illinois electoral process throughout the past centuries, particularly during the era of organized crime. The joke encourages citizens to get up early on Election Day and head to the polls to cast multiple ballots, probably using fraudulent registration. As is occasionally the case, this joke has once again proven to be painfully true in Illinois (and twenty other states), according to the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), which alleges that seventeen Illinois counties have more registered voters than living citizens.

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Vilified and Disenfranchised: Indiana’s New Law Blocks Sex Offenders from Common Polling Place

By: Jacob Kipp

The public’s sentiment toward sex offenders has long been overwhelmingly negative, fueling an ever-increasing number of legal restrictions. Perhaps the most reviled of all offenders are child molesters, which  have been the target of national registration programs (though such registries are often over-inclusive). Those registries are widely used to restrict sex offenders from being anywhere near schools, parks, or youth centers. But what happens when sex offenders want to exercise their right to vote and are not allowed into their polling place because it happens to be a school?

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Illinois party leaders: Unlimited candidate contributions for me, but not for thee

by Tony Glosson

A recent lawsuit filed by Illinois-based Liberty Justice Center poses an interesting question for campaign finance law: Should legislators be allowed to exempt their own party committees and leaders from limitations placed on contributions to candidates? The complaint, filed on behalf of Illinois Liberty PAC and amended to include a private citizen, alleges that Illinois Public Act 96-832 “…treats Illinois Liberty PAC and other nonparty speakers differently from similarly situated political parties” and that “this disparate treatment burdens Illinois Liberty PAC’s First Amendment rights to free speech and equal protection guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment…” Continue reading

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