WBEZ | Illinois politics http://www.wbez.org/tags/illinois-politics Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en No conspiracy required: The true origins of Chicago's February elections http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/no-conspiracy-required-true-origins-chicagos-february-elections-111585 <p><p>With Chicago&rsquo;s municipal election less than a week away, we couldn&rsquo;t help but notice a bevy of questions related to the fact that the races for mayor and city aldermen are settled in late February. In short, a lot of folks suspect that the timing, with the chance of sub-zero temps and snow, amounts to a conspiracy &mdash; one that undercuts the whole democratic thrust of the election itself.</p><p>&ldquo;I mean, nasty cold weather would seem to suppress voter turnout,&rdquo; says Curious Citizen Dave Seglin.</p><p>Another question-asker, Jesse Ackles, adds: &ldquo;My cynical take on it is that it really seems to favor incumbents.&rdquo;</p><p>The most concise formulation of the question comes from Eric Sherman, a local campaign worker who&rsquo;s been canvassing for votes in this nasty cold weather. Here it is:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Why are the Chicago Municipal Elections held in February? What&rsquo;s the REAL reason?</em></p><p>For the record, Eric&rsquo;s not entirely sure the timing is a ploy meant to mess with the administration of democracy, but his formulation (&ldquo;the REAL reason&rdquo;) resonated with a lot of commenters on Twitter and Facebook.</p><p>Regardless, we&rsquo;re going to clear things up, for sure. But a warning to conspiracy theorists: You&rsquo;re not gonna like this. It turns out, there&rsquo;s good evidence that the timing of the February elections was intended to broaden voter participation, not narrow it. Don&rsquo;t blame us. Just read ahead and then blame the historical record.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">On the paper trail</span></p><p>Let&rsquo;s clarify what we&rsquo;re talking about when we say &ldquo;Chicago&rsquo;s February elections.&rdquo; Most towns in Illinois hold party primaries on the last Tuesday of February, while the municipal or so-called &ldquo;consolidated elections&rdquo; happen on the first Tuesday in April.</p><p>Chicago, though, is different. The city holds no primaries for alderman or mayor. Since 199, mayoral candidates have been elected on a nonpartisan basis. Run-offs are held between the top two vote getters if there is no clear majority. Those occur in April.</p><p>Ok, on to the origin story.</p><p>The obvious call to make first is to the Chicago Board of Elections. Jim Allen, a spokesman, says Chicago has held its election around this time of year as long ago as 1837.</p><p>&ldquo;The first mayoral election where Ogden beat Kenzie was in May, and ever since then as far as I can tell we&rsquo;ve been swearing in our mayors in May.&rdquo;</p><p>Of course, this was back when mayors only served one-year terms and City Hall was a saloon. But even Allen, who&rsquo;s been doing this for awhile, is a little stumped about the origins of the current date.</p><p>&ldquo;The part that&rsquo;s going to be hard is finding this bridge between May and when it got pushed back to February,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Is it a political reason that it&rsquo;s incumbent protection, by keeping the voters at home and turnout low? Who knows. That&rsquo;s for a political scientist to noodle over.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Primary election reform </span></p><p>Our next stop: Chicago&rsquo;s Municipal Reference Collection, which resides on the 5th floor of the Harold Washington Library. There, librarian Lyle Benedict begins with relevant passages in the<a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=001000050K2A-1.1" target="_blank"> Illinois compiled statutes</a>.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s elections, like every Illinois municipality, are set by state law. Except for a few years after the Civil War, these elections were held in April, as set forth in the Cities and Villages Act of 1872.</p><p>For most of the 19th century these were elections in name only; candidates that appeared on the ballot were chosen ahead of time by party bosses at state conventions.</p><p>All of this changed during the Progressive Era, when reformers pushed to institute open primaries, which would let average party members participate.</p><p>The change was hailed as a huge step forward.</p><p>On March 7, 1898, the<em> Chicago Tribune</em> wrote about a gathering of 800 young African-Americans at Bethel Church. The esteemed lawyer Edward E. Wilson was quoted addressing the crowd:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;The days of corrupt politics in Chicago are numbered. A few more wise laws such as the new primary law will sound the death knell of the corrupt politician, the ballot-box stuffer, and ward heeler, and honest men will control the elections, and when that time comes honest men will cease to be ashamed to play their part in politics.&rdquo;</p></blockquote><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1898/03/07/page/7/article/honest-primaries-discussed" width="300"></iframe></p><p>According to Benedict and legislative records, there was another change in the works: These primaries were set for February &mdash; more than a month before the April elections. In 1905, Benedict says, Chicago held its first February primary elections.</p><p>&ldquo;Looks like the Republicans were February 14, the Democrats were February 24 and the Socialists were March 4,&rdquo; Benedict notes, pointing to old election rolls.</p><p>These open primaries empowered average voters (at least eligible<em> male</em> voters), but reformers felt it didn&rsquo;t go far enough. Over the next decade they advocated for direct primaries, which would consolidate all of the state&rsquo;s primaries &mdash; regardless of party &mdash; on a single day.</p><p>This was a contentious issue, as entrenched party interests sought to preserve the status quo. A <em>Chicago Tribune</em> article from Oct 15, 1907, was headlined: &ldquo;New Primary Act May Cause Spasm: Measure to be Introduced Today at Springfield Is So Direct That It Staggers Politicians.&rdquo;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" scrolling="no" src="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1907/10/15/page/1/article/new-primary-act-may-cause-spasm" width="300"></iframe></p><p>Reformers eventually won out, however, and the day lawmakers selected was the last Tuesday in February. That date has stuck ever since.</p><p>At the time this was a radical change, according to Maureen Flanagan, a historian at the Illinois Institute of Technology.</p><p>&ldquo;The parties can&rsquo;t just hunker down and control everything,&rdquo; she says, adding that since the general elections were in April, moving the consolidated primaries back to February gave voters a lot more say.</p><p>&ldquo;So if you&rsquo;ve got, say, 6 weeks, [candidates] have a chance to get out and give speeches, do interviews, and it does in fact make it possible for people to know who the candidates are,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>And, Flanagan says, people felt they now had a voice in deciding who would run the city, which led to an increase in voter turnout.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Timing is everything</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/snow%20gearing%20up.jpg" style="float: right; height: 467px; width: 350px;" title="A trio of campaign volunteers for Alderman Proco Joe Moreno bundle up against the cold as they prepare to hit ward precincts with flyers and door-hangers. (WBEZ/Derek John)" />Okay, at this point, we can just say it: The conspiracy theories are dead wrong about why Chicago elections are in February. The timing wasn&rsquo;t originally created to suppress voter turnout &mdash; quite the opposite.</p><p>The next question is: Why do so few people remember it that way?</p><p>Well, one reason is that &mdash; starting in the 1930s &mdash; the Democrats have dominated municipal elections. Then, there&rsquo;s the Democratic Machine, which has been implicated in notorious election shenanigans: Sitting politicians doled out jobs for votes, ballots sometimes were &ldquo;lost&rdquo; during key contests, and nepotism often prevailed in the selection of candidates. Little wonder that citizens find the very timing of elections suspect.</p><p>Dick Simpson, a professor of political science at UIC, was one of the few independents who was elected to the City Council back in 1971. He says for local ward races, especially, the Machine was hard to beat.</p><p>&ldquo;Aldermanic elections are frequently thrown to the Machine for many reasons: patronage, jobs, favors, corrupt contracts. But the winter weather does not help,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>And yet Simpson provides at least one example of when February&rsquo;s blustery weather worked against the Democratic Machine.</p><p>This was during the 1979 Democratic mayoral primary. The incumbent, Michael Bilandic, faced Jane Byrne. As the two went head to head in January, blizzard after blizzard deposited enough snow to practically shut down the city. By the end of one gigantic snowstorm, Simpson says, Chicagoans could look out their windows and see 5 or 6 feet of snow staring back at them.</p><p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;d be skiing to the grocery store because you couldn&rsquo;t get there any other way,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The &lsquo;L&rsquo;s weren&rsquo;t running, so they cut the &lsquo;L&rsquo; stops in the black community, which enraged the black community.&rdquo;</p><p>These political problems piled up &mdash; nearly as high as the snow &mdash; until just a few weeks later, when Bilandic went down to a shocking defeat.</p><p>While Simpson acknowledges other factors, he says the timing of the election was huge.</p><p>&ldquo;If it had been held in April, Jane Byrne probably wouldn&rsquo;t have been elected.&rdquo;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Today&rsquo;s election reforms</span></p><p>While it&rsquo;s still hard to campaign during the winter, in some ways it&rsquo;s never been easier to vote in Chicago.</p><p>Echoing the Progressive reforms from a century ago, new rules have extended the early voting period and allowed more people to use mail-in ballots. Starting in 2016, every polling station in the city will have same-day registration.</p><p>One last thing to note. Chicago&rsquo;s average voter turnout for municipal elections hovers around 40 percent. Compare that to turnout in San Antonio, Texas. According to <a href="http://www.fairvote.org/research-and-analysis/blog/fairvote-report-low-turnout-plagues-u-s-mayoral-elections-but-san-francisco-is-highest/#.UqoBkvRDtrE" target="_blank">figures collected by the voter advocacy group Fair Vote </a>, turnout in that city&rsquo;s last few mayoral elections averaged below 10 percent.</p><p>Translation? Chicago&rsquo;s turnout is higher than nearly every other big city &mdash; even those in warmer climates, where braving the outdoors in February isn&rsquo;t so intimidating.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/question%20asker2.jpg" style="height: 400px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Question-asker Eric Sherman standing in front of a map of Chicago’s 1st ward. (Derek John/WBEZ)" /><span style="font-size:24px;">Who asked our question?</span></p><p>We received several versions of this question about the timing of Chicago elections, but the one we got from Eric Sherman accompanied a great backstory. He&rsquo;s a local political activist and self-proclaimed political science nerd. He&rsquo;s currently working on Alderman (1st) Proco Joe Moreno&rsquo;s reelection campaign, which means he&rsquo;s often going door-to-door in this brutal weather.</p><p>&ldquo;People are nice about it and sometimes they&rsquo;ll let you in,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;If you can get into an apartment complex, that&rsquo;s great. That&rsquo;s a good 15 to 20 minutes where you&rsquo;re inside a building.&rdquo;</p><p>When we tell Eric how the February election date was originally a reform that encouraged greater voter participation, he gets ecstatic.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s another example of the contradictory nature of Chicago politics,&quot; he says. &quot;People get really negative and really pessimistic, and they assume the whole system is rigged. As someone who&rsquo;s involved in local &nbsp;politics, it&rsquo;s not rigged. If it was, we wouldn&rsquo;t be out there knocking on doors and getting supporters.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Derek L. John is WBEZ&#39;s Community Bureaus Editor. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/derekljohn" target="_blank">@derekljohn</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 18 Feb 2015 18:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/no-conspiracy-required-true-origins-chicagos-february-elections-111585 Gov Quinn signs making 'revenge porn' a felony http://www.wbez.org/news/gov-quinn-signs-making-revenge-porn-felony-111308 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/springfield flickr matt howry.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Distributing private images online without a person&#39;s consent will be a felony under a law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn.</p><p>The measure addresses so-called &quot;revenge porn&quot; in which a former romantic partner posts private pictures or videos in retaliation.</p><p>Democratic state Sen. Michael Hastings is a sponsor.</p><p>He says it&#39;s &quot;psychological abuse to the highest degree.&quot;</p><p>His office says it&#39;s already illegal to put identifying or graphic information without consent on pornographic websites.</p><p>But state law didn&#39;t previously address privately-shared images.</p><p>Quinn said Monday that cyberbullying can have lasting and devastating effects.</p><p>He says the law cracks down on perpetrators and will prevent more people from becoming victims, most of whom are women.</p><p>Critics had expressed free speech concerns.</p><p>The law takes effect in June 2015.</p></p> Tue, 30 Dec 2014 09:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/gov-quinn-signs-making-revenge-porn-felony-111308 Topinka remembered as honest, tough at memorial http://www.wbez.org/news/topinka-remembered-honest-tough-memorial-111250 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/topinka_0.png" alt="" /><p><p>COUNTRYSIDE, Ill. &mdash; Late Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has been remembered as a tough, honest leader with a signature sense of humor.</p><p>Crowds filled a union hall in suburban Chicago on Wednesday to pay respects. Individuals included the state&#39;s top leaders, lawmakers, local leaders and Illinoisans who knew her for more than 70 years.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/illinois-comptroller-judy-baar-topinka-dies-111213">Judy Baar Topinka in her own words</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Gov. Pat Quinn says Topinka took on tough challenges in life. She was also a former state treasurer, GOP head and lawmaker.</p><p>Portraits of Topinka lined an entrance, along with photos of past campaigns, her family and dogs.</p><p>Former Gov. Jim Thompson says Topinka would have appreciated the bipartisan crowd gathered at the memorial.</p><p>Topinka died last week after suffering complications from a stroke. She had won a second full term in November. A replacement hasn&#39;t yet been named.</p></p> Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/topinka-remembered-honest-tough-memorial-111250 Unions sue to stop Chicago pension overhaul http://www.wbez.org/news/unions-sue-stop-chicago-pension-overhaul-111239 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/city hall chicago flickr daniel x o nell.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Current and retired city workers and their labor unions have filed a lawsuit arguing a law overhauling Chicago&#39;s pension systems is unconstitutional.</p><p>The lawsuit filed Tuesday in Cook County Circuit Court also asks a judge to stop the law from taking effect Jan. 1.</p><p>Chicago has the worst-funded pension system of any major U.S. city.</p><p>Legislation approved last year seeks to eliminate a $9.4 billion unfunded liability in two pension systems by increasing contributions and cutting benefits. It would affect about 57,000 laborers and municipal employees.</p><p>The plaintiffs are 12 current and former workers and four unions, including AFSCME Council 31 and the Illinois Nurses Association.</p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the law is constitutional. He says the changes are needed to ensure pension funds remain solvent and retirees receive benefits.</p></p> Tue, 16 Dec 2014 13:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/unions-sue-stop-chicago-pension-overhaul-111239 Same-day registration means long lines for some Illinois voters http://www.wbez.org/news/same-day-registration-means-long-lines-some-illinois-voters-111063 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Voting banner AP.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Polls have closed across Illinois after voters cast their ballots in the state&#39;s 2014 midterm election.</p><p>The exception includes a handful of polling places in Chicago that were allowed to stay open later on Tuesday evening. That&#39;s because election judges arrived late and polls didn&#39;t open on time.</p><p>Some Illinoisans taking advantage of a policy adopted this year allowing Election Day voter registration have ended up in long lines.</p><blockquote><p><strong>Related: <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/calls-aimed-election-judges-dissuade-attendance-111061">Dirty trick&#39; robocalls dissuaded Chicago election judges from polls</a></strong></p></blockquote><p>Chicago Board of Elections spokesman Jim Allen spoke to reporters about the issue during a Tuesday afternoon conference call.</p><p>Allen says it&#39;s the first time the city has dealt with Election Day voter registration.</p><p>Allen says the process is necessarily time consuming. He cited the need to cross-check data to ensure someone isn&#39;t registered elsewhere.</p><p>A judge also extended voting for same-day registrants in Lake County until 9 p.m.</p><p>That happened after Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan argued that the Lake County clerk opened sites offering a new same-day signup option at 10 a.m. instead of 6 a.m.</p><p>The clerk says the sites opened late because of a shortage of poll workers.</p></p> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 19:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/same-day-registration-means-long-lines-some-illinois-voters-111063 Calls aimed at election judges dissuade attendance http://www.wbez.org/news/calls-aimed-election-judges-dissuade-attendance-111061 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/vote_4.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>A Chicago election official says bogus automated telephone calls made over the weekend may have dissuaded hundreds of city election judges from turning up at the polls on Election Day.</p><p>Election board spokesman Jim Allen told reporters Tuesday that at least 2,000 judges out of more than 10,000 scheduled to work were no-shows.</p><p>Officials say the calls falsely told the judges they needed to attend additional training sessions.</p><p>Allen described the calls as a &quot;dirty trick&quot; and &quot;malicious.&quot; Allen didn&#39;t say if Democrat or Republican-affiliated judges were more impacted.</p><p>Allen says election officials are asking a court to extend voting at six Chicago polling stations. He says that at least in some cases a shortage of judges contributed to the delays.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 04 Nov 2014 16:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/calls-aimed-election-judges-dissuade-attendance-111061 Midterm 2014 Illinois election results http://www.wbez.org/news/midterm-2014-illinois-election-results-111012 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/vote_0.PNG" alt="" /><p><p><a href="#governor">Governor</a> | <a href="#senate">Senate</a> | <a href="#house">House</a> | <a href="#statewide">Statewide</a> | <a href="#general-assembly">General Assembly</a> | <a href="#local">Local</a></p><div id="gov"><a name="governor"></a><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Governor</span></p></div><div id="senate"><a name="senate"></a><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Senate</span></p></div><br /><div id="house"><a name="house"></a><p><span style="font-size:22px;">House</span></p></div><br /><div id="statewide"><a name="statewide"></a><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Statewide elections</span></p></div><br /><div id="stateleg"><a name="general-assembly"></a><p><span style="font-size:22px;">Illinois General Assembly</span></p></div><br /><div id="local"><a name="local"></a><p><span id="cke_bm_239S" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size:22px;">Illinois local elections</span><span id="cke_bm_239E" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p></div><script type="text/javascript" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/wbez-assets/scripts/pym.js"></script><script> var pymGov = new pym.Parent('gov', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/gov/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); var pymSenate = new pym.Parent('senate', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/us_senate/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); var pymHouse = new pym.Parent('house', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/us_house/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); var pymStatewide = new pym.Parent('statewide', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/statewide/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); var pymStateleg = new pym.Parent('stateleg', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/state_sen_house/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); var pymLocal = new pym.Parent('local', 'http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/files/elections/2014/general/by_state/local/IL.html?SITE=WBEZFMELN&SECTION=POLITICS', {}); </script></p> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 15:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/midterm-2014-illinois-election-results-111012 2014 Election Coverage: Citizens, here's your homework! http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973 <p><p>We&rsquo;re trying to make it a little easier for you to stay up-to-speed this election season. This is a hub for Illinois voters to study up on the issues and candidates before voting on (<a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/votinginformation/earlyvotinglocations.aspx" target="_blank">or before</a>) Nov. 4.</p><p>On election night, we&#39;re hosting a live watch party in Chicago with hosts Niala Boodhoo and Melba Lara. If you can&#39;t make it to the party, join us that night <a href="http://twitter.com/WBEZPolitics">@WBEZPolitics</a>&nbsp;to get the latest updates.</p><p>Here&#39;s who we&#39;ll have covering races on election night:</p><ul><li><a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">Tony Arnold</a> will cover Democratic incumbent <a href="https://www.quinnforillinois.com/00/" target="_blank">Illinois Governor Pat Quinn</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">Lauren Chooljian</a> will cover Republican gubernatorial challenger <a href="http://brucerauner.com/" target="_blank">Bruce Rauner</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" target="_blank">Michael Puente</a> will cover Democratic incumbent <a href="http://www.dickdurbin.com/home" target="_blank">Illinois Senator Dick Durbin</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews" target="_blank">Yolanda Perdomo</a> will cover Republican Senate challenger <a href="http://www.jimoberweis.com/" target="_blank">Jim Oberweis</a>.</li><li><a href="https://twitter.com/katieobez" target="_blank">Katie O&#39;Brien</a> will cover the 10th congressional district race between Democratic incumbent <a href="http://schneiderforcongress.com/" target="_blank">Brad Schneider</a> and Republican challenger <a href="http://doldforcongress.com/" target="_blank">Bob Dold</a>.</li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><strong>Election Coverage<a name="elections"></a></strong> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#heygov" target="_self">Hey Gov</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#debates" target="_self">Full Debate Audio</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#links" target="_self">Links You Need</a></span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="350" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/55986159&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#elections" target="_self">Election Coverage</a> |<strong> </strong><strong>Hey Gov<a name="heygov"></a> </strong>|<strong> </strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#debates" target="_self">Full Debate Audio</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#links" target="_self">Links You Need</a></span></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/hey%20gov%20crop.PNG" style="height: 272px; width: 620px;" title="(WBEZ/Tony Arnold)" /></div><p>WBEZ reporters Al Keefe, Tony Arnold and Patrick Smith traveled <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/hey-gov-illinois-politics-road-trip-110657">around the state of Illinois</a> to understand <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/hey-gov">what&#39;s on the minds of voters</a> this November for the <strong>Hey Gov </strong>series.&nbsp;</p><ul><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/health-problems-facing-rural-and-urban-poor-illinois-110959">The health problems facing Illinois&#39; urban and rural poor</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/state-government-could-take-over-school-district-near-you-110943">How state government could take over your school</a></li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/battle-over-state-facility-personal-political-110925">Picking up the pieces after budget cuts shut down a center for people with disabilities</a></li></ul><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#elections" target="_self">Election Coverage</a> |<strong> </strong><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#heygov" target="_self">Hey Gov</a><strong> </strong>|<strong> Full Debate Audio<a name="debates"></a></strong> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#links" target="_self">Links You Need</a></span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="250" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/55878303&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-size:18px;"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#elections" target="_self">Election Coverage</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#heygov" target="_self">Hey Gov</a> | <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973#debates" target="_self">Full Debate Audio</a> | <strong>Links You Need<a name="links"></a></strong></span></p><ul><li><a href="http://www.elections.il.gov/votinginformation/RegistrationLookup.aspx" target="_blank">How to vote</a></li><li><a href="http://www.elections.state.il.us/votinginformation/earlyvotinglocations.aspx" target="_blank">Early Voting Locations </a></li><li><a href="http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections/2014elections/Pages/110414Candidates.aspx" target="_blank">Nov 4, 2014 Candidates (Suburban Cook County)</a></li><li><a href="http://www.cookcountyclerk.com/elections/2014elections/Pages/AllReferenda.aspx" target="_blank">Nov 4, 2014 Ballot referenda </a></li><li><a href="http://www.elections.il.gov/infoforvoters.aspx" target="_blank">Other voter information</a><br />&nbsp;</li></ul></p> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 14:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/2014-election-coverage-citizens-heres-your-homework-110973 Hey Gov: An Illinois politics road trip http://www.wbez.org/news/hey-gov-illinois-politics-road-trip-110657 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Bu1yd1ZCcAEYqlk.jpg" alt="" /><p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/hey-gov-an-illinois-politics-road-trip/embed?header=none&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/hey-gov-an-illinois-politics-road-trip.js?header=none&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/hey-gov-an-illinois-politics-road-trip" target="_blank">View the story "Hey Gov: An Illinois politics road trip " on Storify</a>]<h1>Hey Gov: An Illinois politics road trip </h1><h2>WBEZ political reporters Alex Keefe and Tony Arnold took off from Chicago and drove along the Illinois River until the hit the State Fair. All along the way, they stopped to ask people what they want from the next governor. </h2><p>Storified by <a href="https://storify.com/WBEZ">WBEZ</a>&middot; Thu, Aug 14 2014 16:56:40 </p><div>WBEZ&apos;s @akeefe &amp; @tonyjarnold are following the Illinois River to the State Fair, asking citizens what they want from a governor. #HeyGovWBEZ</div><div>Best Game in Town: Governor's Day at the Illinois State Fair by WBEZ's Afternoon ShiftThe Illinois State Fair hosts &quot;Governor's Day&quot; today at the fairgrounds in Springfield, Illinois. Governor's Day is the traditional rally and picnic for the Illinois democratic party. Tomorrow is Republican Day. The big story is how Governor Quinn has changed the format of today's festivities.</div><div>Gov. Quinn heads to Illinois State Fair to rally his base by WBEZ's Morning ShiftThe Illinois State Fair brings out politicians, special interest groups and voters looking to get some answers from candidates. Incumbent Governor Quinn is following the same pattern as last year and making Wednesday's Governor's Day at the Fair a family event rather than an opportunity to hash out political agendas.</div><div>What Walt Willey, Ottawa #il native and longtime &quot;All My Children&quot; soap star, wants from the next gov http://t.co/IFmdwcg9u9 #heygov @WBEZAlex Keefe</div><div>A brief history of Ottawa, #IL, in mural form. #heygov @ Illinois River, Ottawa IL http://t.co/LpoCI5xsA8Alex Keefe</div><div>.@akeefe is driving me to Springfield. At least if we take a wrong turn I know we have a map. http://t.co/0ZBKrpc8E7Tony Arnold</div></noscript></div></p> Thu, 14 Aug 2014 11:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/hey-gov-illinois-politics-road-trip-110657 Cook County judge considers term limits http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-judge-considers-term-limits-110374 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/votingline_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A Cook County judge heard oral arguments Wednesday in a lawsuit challenging two efforts seeking to change how the Illinois political system operates. The two separate ballot initiatives would ask voters to weigh in on everything from adding term limits for state legislators to how legislative districts are drawn.</p><p>Challenging the two petition drives are the Little Village Chamber of Commerce, the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce and the Business Leadership Council, as well as a number of individuals. They include former ComEd CEO Frank Clark and housing developer Elzie Higginbottom.</p><p>The challengers&nbsp; are represented by Richard Prendergast and Mike Kasper, an attorney who has also represented the Democratic Party of Illinois and Rahm Emanuel, although Emanuel and Michael Madigan, the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and chairman of the state Democratic Party, are not parties on the lawsuit.</p><p>Prendergast told Cook County Judge Mary Mikva in a hearing Wednesday that the state Supreme Court rejected a previous attempt to add term limits. He argued the effort goes against the Illinois constitution, which states that &ldquo;amendments shall be limited to structural and procedural subjects.&rdquo;</p><p>To help it stand on firm legal footing, the term limit initiative also includes other components besides limiting a lawmaker from holding office more than eight years. It also reduces the number of Illinois state senators while slightly increasing the number of state representatives and increases the number of votes needed to override a governor&rsquo;s veto.</p><p>Prendergast equated those other provisions to &ldquo;ornaments&rdquo; on a Christmas tree to please the judge. He said voters may struggle with the ballot question, since a voter could support term limits but oppose a reduction in state senators, and that those topics should be separate questions.</p><p>But Mark Campbell, a spokesman for the committee trying to get term limits on the ballot, said it&rsquo;s within the limits the Illinois Supreme Court set when they ruled against a term limit initiative 20 years ago.</p><p>&ldquo;What we did was specifically outlined by the Supreme Court as to what the requirements are to get on the ballot and we are very confident that our initiative, as written, does pass muster.&rdquo;</p><p>Bruce Rauner, the Republican nominee for Illinois governor, backs the term limits initiative.&nbsp; But the elections board is continuing to review the effort to create a bipartisan panel to draw legislative district boundaries, rather than having the boundaries drawn by political parties. Legislative boundaries are redrawn after each census.</p><p>The redistricting process was also before Judge Mikva Wednesday in the same lawsuit, with similar legal arguments from both sides. Kasper argued that ballot initiative would take away power from the governor, the attorney general and lawmakers, in addition to altering the eligibility of judges.</p><p>&ldquo;Anything that&rsquo;s directly related to the purpose of the amendment, which is to alter the redistricting and to make it non-partisan, which these conflict of interest rules are, is fair game,&rdquo; said Michelle Odorizzi, an attorney for the redistricting ballot initiative.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics. Follow him <a href="http://twitter.com/tonyjarnold" target="_blank">@tonyjarnold.</a></em></p></p> Wed, 18 Jun 2014 17:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cook-county-judge-considers-term-limits-110374