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Voters in Chicago

Voters at the poll on June 28, 2022. Election integrity has been a major theme of this election cycle.

Manuel Martinez

Illinois Election 2022: Election integrity

You may have heard that Georgia and Texas are enacting new laws to limit a voter’s access to the ballot.

Here in Illinois — which solidly voted for Joe Biden in 2020’s presidential election — the state hasn’t been the subject of Donald Trump’s ire over his false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. But conspiracy theorists have inundated election officials across Illinois with form letters threatening lawsuits.

And the possible challenges to election results in Illinois go beyond those letters. Republican candidate for Illinois governor, Darren Bailey, told WBEZ that “there’s a lot of concern about voter fraud.” Bailey also said he hopes to have 4,000 poll watchers trained for next week’s election. Without making any specific accusations, Bailey said, “We’re letting a lot slide under our noses.”

So, just how up to date are Illinois’ voter rolls?

WBEZ’s Mawa Iqbal talked to Matt Dietrich of the Illinois Board of Elections to find out how the state’s lists of eligible voters are maintained. Dietrich noted that, in contrast to some states that aggressively remove inactive voters, Illinois’ process leans on local jurisdictions to keep their rolls active.

Election deniers on the ballot

Republican U.S. Rep. Adam Kinzinger, who often criticizes Trump, isn’t running for office again. But as he prepares to leave Congress, he’s throwing support behind some Democrats who are running against election deniers around the country (none in Illinois), the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet reported. Kinzinger hasn’t said what he intends to do after he leaves office. He’s also on the Jan. 6 committee investigating the insurrection.

Meanwhile, Chicago Sun-Times politics reporter Tina Sfondeles found that Republican megadonors from Lake Forest — Dick Uihlein and his wife, Liz — are overwhelmingly giving campaign money to support candidates who have cast doubt on the 2020 presidential election results or voted against certifying that election.

All of this misinformation is contributing to an even more polarized electorate, studies and reporting have shown. Most recently, freshman U.S. Rep. Mary Miller, who is running for reelection in a heavily-Republican district in Illinois, was cited in a New York Times study as one of the most polarizing politicians in the U.S.

Miller, who fought certification of the 2020 presidential election win for Joe Biden, has been endorsed by Trump, and her “rhetoric was featured in the lead of the [New York Times’] analysis about how ‘incendiary rhetoric fuels polarization,’” the Chicago Sun-Times’ Lynn Sweet reported.

A Guide to Illinois’ 2022 Elections

  • The biggest races: The politics teams at WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times explain the races and ballot initiatives that matter. Get expert analysis of the important races in our voter guide.

  • Who’s on the ballot? Enter your home address into this tool and it will filter the Chicago Sun-Times’ candidate guide to show who will appear on your ballot in Cook County, and some of your choices in Lake, DuPage, Will and Kane counties.

  • How to vote: It’s not too late to register. Find out how — plus, tips on early voting, vote by mail and day-of logistics for the metro Chicago area — with WBEZ’s walkthrough of your options.

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