WBEZ | vote http://www.wbez.org/tags/vote Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois Senate votes to legalize gay marriage http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/illinois-senate-votes-legalize-gay-marriage-105530 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS6806_AP217659454282-scr_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated: 3 p.m.</em></p><p>Illinois moved closer Thursday to becoming the 10th state in the nation where same-sex couples can legally wed, after the Senate voted to lift a ban on gay marriage.</p><p>Senators voted 34-21 to approve the measure, sending it on to the state House where Democrats also hold a majority. Gov. Pat Quinn, a Chicago Democrat, has said he will sign the bill if the House approves it.</p><p>The bill&#39;s sponsor, Sen. Heather Steans, D-Chicago, called it &quot;a vote for the history books.&quot;</p><p>&quot;We have the opportunity today to welcome all families in Illinois as equally valued,&quot; she said.</p><p>Before approving the measure, the Senate attached an amendment Thursday that explicitly states no church or other religious organization will be forced to solemnize same-sex marriages. It also says churches cannot be sued if they don&#39;t allow their parishes to be used for same-sex marriage ceremonies.</p><p>Some Republicans raised concerns that the bill would force religious organizations to allow same-sex marriage ceremonies in their fellowship halls, parish centers or even in their sanctuaries. Steans said even before the amendment was added that the bill made clear churches won&#39;t be forced to perform same-sex marriages.</p><p>Sen. Jason Barickman, R-Champaign, was the only Republican to vote yes. He said he worked with Steans on the amendment before pledging his support.</p><p>&quot;I think it was the right thing to do,&quot; Barickman said. &quot;It&#39;s a vote that I understand some have varying opinions on, but I feel that I voted in the correct way.&quot;</p><p>The Valentine&#39;s Day vote marked the first time gay marriage has passed on the floor of either chamber of the Legislature. Steans and other supporters tried to pass it during the January lame duck session. But after getting approval from a Senate committee, Steans opted not to call for floor action, saying it didn&#39;t have enough votes.</p><p>After picking up seats in November, Democrats entered the current legislative session with control of 40 seats in the Senate, where 30 votes are required to advance most measures. The Senate Executive Committee approved the gay marriage bill on a party-line vote last week, setting up the Valentine&#39;s Day floor action.</p><p>Jim Bennett, regional director for Lambda Legal, said supporting same-sex marriage is &quot;both politically smart and morally right.&quot;</p><p>Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, said he &quot;the prospects are very good&quot; in the House, where he&#39;s the bill sponsor.</p><p>Harris said he hasn&#39;t spoken with House leadership about when a vote may occur in the House, but he said he hopes it will be soon. He wouldn&#39;t comment on how the roll call looks so far.</p><p>Polls show voters&#39; feelings shifting rapidly in favor of gay rights. President Barack Obama said last year he supports same-sex marriage, and in November voters in four states either approved or voted down bans on gay marriage.</p><p>&quot;I think it&#39;s a safer vote to vote with us than to vote against us at this point,&quot; Bennett said.</p><p>The issue has caused internal conflict among Republicans as the party works balance its efforts to appeal more to younger voters, minorities and women with the more socially conservative positions of some members.</p><p>After Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady announced his support for gay marriage during the lame-duck legislative session, saying it was a civil rights issue, some Republicans called for his ouster. Opponents of gay marriage pledged to fund primary challenges to any Republican who voted in favor of the bill.</p><p>Thursday&#39;s vote came two years after Illinois lawmakers approved civil unions, which provide legal recognition of a partnership between two people, regardless of gender. But gay marriage supporters said it wasn&#39;t enough.</p></p> Thu, 14 Feb 2013 10:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/politics/illinois-senate-votes-legalize-gay-marriage-105530 Chicago election ballots in Hindi http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-election-ballots-hindi-96612 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2012-February/2012-02-21/ziggy1 134.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Voting ballots in Chicago will be printed in one more language starting with March’s primary election. Under Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act, certain minority groups must have access to ballots and voter assistance in their language.<br> <br> Chicago and Cook County were informed last year that based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Asian-Indian voters in the area fall into that category. Chicago already provides ballots and voter materials and assistance in Spanish and Chinese.</p><p>In fulfilling that mandate, the Chicago Election Board decided to use Hindi as the additional language.</p><p>"We had to come to one language that we would use for our voting equipment," said Kelly Bateman, Assistant Executive Director of the Chicago Election Board.</p><p>The option of voting in Hindi will be available citywide on touchscreen voting equipment and on paper ballots in 36 precincts. Voting assistance at those targeted precincts and on the <a href="http://www.chicagoelections.com/" target="_blank">election board's website</a> will be available in two other Indian languages, Gujarati and Urdu.</p><p>For election officials and community organizationa the challenge now is finding poll workers that speak Hindi, Urdu or Gujarati. Another challenge is encouraging voter registration and turnout within this community.</p><p>"Just because this language assistance is there doesn’t mean that everyone knows about it or uses it," said Ami Gandhi, Executive Director of the South Asian American Policy and Research Institute.</p></p> Tue, 21 Feb 2012 22:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-election-ballots-hindi-96612 Affordable housing ordinance up for vote in Chicago City Council http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable-housing/affordable-housing-ordinance-vote-chicago-city-council <p><p>A measure to create more affordable housing in Chicago is coming up for a long-awaited vote today in the city council.</p><p>The ordinance takes aim at a special pot of money Mayor Richard Daley has used for years for economic development. The measure would set aside 20 percent of those tax increment financing dollars to create affordable housing and rehab foreclosed homes. <br /><br />Daley has opposed the plan, which was first introduced in March. One sponsor, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr., 27th, said he&rsquo;s hopeful it will pass and that Daley won&rsquo;t strike it down.<br /><br />&quot;If he vetoes it, all he does is strike a nerve in so many more people in the city of Chicago who have suffered, who are suffering right now,&quot; Burnett said.<br /><br />Burnett said a majority of aldermen have pledged support. City officials have argued that some TIF dollars already go toward affordable housing and the ordinance would hamstring efforts to create jobs. <br />&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 17 Nov 2010 06:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/affordable-housing/affordable-housing-ordinance-vote-chicago-city-council