Building on our legislative successes to secure a democracy that serves the people, Common Cause Illinois is dedicated to expanding and protecting the right to vote, advancing the fight for transparency to hold power accountable, and ensuring that our elected leaders answer to the people and not to special interests.

As part of a national movement, Common Cause Illinois provides a platform to mobilize our members to create change on key national democracy issues while harnessing that power on a local and community level to build people power on the issues that matter most at home.


Voter List Access

  • Problem: Illinois needs to update the rules governing how Illinoisians can access the voter rolls. While we support the democratization of access to such lists, it is equally important to ensure that voter lists are used to mobilize voters as intended, and not for profit or to harass, or threaten individuals and groups in our communities. Without commonsense changes, the guardrails to keep voters’ information safe are in jeopardy.
  • Solution: To increase access while preserving the intended use of voter lists, we, along with our partners in the Just Democracy Illinois coalition, have introduced Senate Bill 3079 (Murphy-D) and House Bill 4669 (Didech-D). These bills would centralize the dissemination of the lists with the Illinois State Board of Elections and require requiring who request the list to identify who they are, how they intend to use the list, and to attest that they will not use the lists for commercial purposes or harassment.

Automatic Voter Registration

  • Problem: Our automatic voter registration statute streamlines the voter registration process and has added over one million new voters to Illinois’s roll. While it is time to update this statute, we must ensure that any changes do not inadvertently put residents who are not eligible to vote at risk.
  • Solution: To protect residents from unwittingly registering to vote, we are partnering with the Just Democracy coalition and community organizations to ensure that our systems are as safe as possible.

Election Judge and Worker Appreciation Week

  • Problem: Election judges and workers are the heart of our democracy. Inspired by a sense of civic duty, Election Judges work long days for very little pay to make sure our elections are free and fair and that every vote counts. Yet, across the country and throughout Illinois, election workers and volunteers face increasingly difficult work environments, including increased public scrutiny and outright threats, with one in six experiencing direct threats against them. Added to that retirements and post-pandemic burnout, Illinois faces a shortage in election judges and workers, just when we need them the most.
  • Solution: To bolster recruitment and retention of one of our most valuable election resources, we are proposing that Illinois designate the first week in August 2024 as Election Judge and Worker Appreciation Week. Precincts across Illinois can join together to recognize and celebrate the civic contributions of election workers and promote positive messages about public service and our elections.

Other Voting and Election Priorities

With 2024 being a critical election year, we are working tirelessly to make sure Illinois’ elections are protected.

  • We are reaching out across the state to understand what challenges election clerks and officials are facing to inform our advocacy efforts to ensure our election infrastructure is resilient and responsive during this time of change and evolving demands.
  • We are partnering with voting, technology, and cyber-security experts across the country to safeguard the security of our voting systems by making sure that untested technologies do not get implemented prematurely.
  • We are fighting alongside the Unlocked Civics Coalition for universal enfranchisement, where the civic rights of people in the carceral systems are restored, can actively and productively participate in our democracy and have a say in what their communities look like for the families and when they return.


The People’s Court: Judicial FOIA

  • The Problem: In Illinois, the public has the right to request documents and information from every branch of government, except one: the judiciary. This lack of transparency makes Illinois an outlier among the 50 states and keeps the public in the dark about how the courts are performing and the real-life implications on equity, efficacy, and accountability. As the Judicial Branch is perhaps the most powerful governmental body in our democracy impacting lives and livelihoods of us all, it is more critical than ever to extend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to the Illinois’ Judiciary. In addition to ensuring access to administrative data that provides critical insight into the efficacy and efficiency of the courts, the lack of transparency that FOIA affords has real-life implications in matters of public safety and accountability. Of special concern is the lack of transparency this creates around the Juvenile Detention Centers which fall under our Courts.
  • The Solution: As a lead partner of the Court Transparency Coalition, we are seeking to pass HBXXX to add the judicial branch to FOIA which will have broad implications, especially for communities that have been disproportionately impacted by our carceral and public safety systems. We are convening and engaging a broad range of stakeholders including policy, legal, and advocacy groups as well as communities who are most impacted by the carceral system.

Money and Influence

Chicago Lobbying Ordinance

The Chicago Ethics Committee recently amended a sweeping ordinance that regulates nonprofit lobbying activities to better ensure that rules established more transparency without introducing unproductive or inequitable burdens to nonprofit and community organizations. In partnership with Forefront, the Ethics Committee and community organizations providing direct services in communities facing our greatest challenges, Common Cause advocated for changes to protect civic action, smaller and grassroots organizations and young people involved with civic engagement and transitional employment programs. While we are pleased with the number of improvements that made it into the law, we believe there is substantive work to be done to ensure investments are made in community outreach and education to ensure the Ordinance achieves its objectives out placing undue and unproductive burden on community organizations.

Chicago Small Donor Match Ordinance

Common Cause is part of Chicago’s Ethics Committee Working Group to develop a public financing small donor match program for Chicago’s aldermanic, mayoral and city-wide campaigns. Small Donor match programs are an evolving and innovative strategy to counter money and influence in politics, activate lower income and disenfranchised voters, and enhance the financial viability of candidates of color. We expect an Ordinance to be introduced to the City Council in the winter/spring of 2024.

Next Campaign

Gerrymandering & Representation