Modernizing and Bolstering Illinois Election Code

Protecting our democracy is not a partisan issue — when a foreign government or anyone else tries to influence our elections, it weakens all of our votes and voices.

It’s why we’re working hard to fight back against efforts to undermine our elections. There is a national movement afoot to attack our democratic institutions and cast doubts on the electoral process. At Common Cause Illinois, we work with election officials to ensure that information is transparent and accessible, and we have a public education agenda to help people learn about the safeguards that are in place. The 2020 election was the most secure and monitored ever in America, and we will work on reforms that will continue to continue to have secure and fair elections in every election after.

This year, we are working with experts and local election officials to advance reforms to improve and safeguard our elections. By modernizing and bolstering our election laws, we can be sure that every Illinoisan voice is heard at the ballot box.

Election Judge Initials

Under current law, Illinois requires that for ballots cast on election day, an election judge must pen their initials on the back of the ballot for it to be considered valid – if they do not, it must be marked as “Defective” and excluded from the vote count. In other words, these ballots can be invalidated at no fault of the voter.

This is an antiquated law, a relic of the days when we primarily used punch card ballots. Due to the advancements in election technology and security, this law is outdated, duplicative and potentially harmful to Illinois voters.

That’s why we are working with local election officials and legislators to bring our election code up-to-date. Illinois is in the minority of states when it comes to this requirement, and updating this piece of law is a small, but impactful, step to ensuring democracy works for all of us.

Access to Voter Registration Lists

Access to voter registration data is another area that desperately needs to be updated here in Illinois. Currently, Illinois is an outlier in how electronic voter registration data can be obtained for voting rights advocates, universities, and journalists – making it extremely difficult to view this information, and only providing copies to candidates and parties.

With all of the recent changes to our election laws, it is more important than ever that voting rights advocates be able to access this information to inform and empower voters to participate in our democratic process.

Next Campaign

Gerrymandering & Representation