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2018 Election

Nonprofit pushing Illinois to lower voting age to 16 for local elections



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While Illinois lawmakers and local officials are considering raising the legal age to smoke and own firearms, a push to lower the voting age is gaining steam.

Vote 16 Illinois is a chapter of Vote 16 USA, a nonprofit with a goal to lower the legal voting age requirements for local elections. The group is working with state lawmakers to start the conversation about getting 16-year-olds the right to vote.

Brandon Klugman, with Vote 16’s national chapter, said that voting at 16 sets the tone for civic participation in later years.

“When people vote in the first election they’re eligible for, they’re much more likely to continue voting in subsequent elections,” he said.

Perhaps more compelling to detractors of allowing a 16-year-old to vote in local elections: If they’re already working and paying taxes, shouldn’t they have a say in that process?

“Young people who are working and paying taxes are definitely aware of that fact,” Klugman said.

When asked why it’s acceptable for a young person to vote five years before they can buy cigarettes, as was approved by the Illinois Senate in April, Klugman said the timelines aren’t comparable.

“Each age line should be set at what makes the most sense in that particular behavior and that particular activity,” he said.

Allowing local votes at 16 would require changing the state’s constitution. The Illinois Constitution would have to be amended to allow only home-rule municipalities the option to lower their age requirement. It’s not impossible. It was changed via referendum in 1988 to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, where it stands now.

Eighteen would still be the age limit for elections with federal consequences.


Article by the Cole Lauterbach, for more INN News visit

Illinois News Network, publisher of, is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media company dedicated to the principles of transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility in the state of Illinois. INN is Illinois’ pioneering non-profit news brand, offering content from the statehouse and beyond to Illinoisans through their local media of choice and from their digital hub at Springfield Daily was granted republishing permission by INN.

2018 Election

Rodriguez discusses fundraising, social security during Jacksonville town hall

Thomas Clatterbuck



Democratic hopeful Junius Rodriguez held a town hall event in Jacksonville Thursday night. This was one of a series of town halls Rodriguez has scheduled around the 18th Congressional district. Around twenty people came out to take part and ask questions of the candidate.

Social Security was one of the main concerns of the town hall attendees. While the program is solvent today, it is a real possibility that it might not be in the coming future. Rodriguez acknowledged these fears, and discussed a number of possible solutions. Raising the amount of taxable income was seen as a short term solution. Over the longer term, he discussed possibilities of having several different options for individuals to choose delay receiving benefits. These small changes, in aggregate, could buy the system time for more lasting reforms to be developed.

Rodriguez also talked about his ideas on how Congressmen and Congress as a whole should act. He criticized the current Congress for failing to be an effective check on presidential power. However, Rodriguez stopped short of saying he would be an automatic vote to impeach President Trump. Despite his strong and vocal opposition to the current president, Rodriguez said that everyone should receive a fair hearing decided by the evidence.

He also spoke about how fundraising has become too important in politics. His campaign is a low budget affair, in part because he has not accepted money from PACs or corporations. But he asked why it was that candidates’ ability to fundraise, rather than quality of their ideas, was the main metric of what makes a viable candidate. He also felt that elected officials spend too much time fundraising. According to Rodriguez, a congressman may spend upwards of one third of their time fundraising for their party.

You can watch the full meeting in the player below. You can also learn more about Rodriguez and the other candidates in the 18th on our Campaign Headquarters page.

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2018 Election

New automatic voter registration law won’t slow efforts to reach out to potential new voters face-to-face



A new automatic voter registration law in Illinois won’t slow efforts to reach out to potential new voters in an old-fashioned way.

Sharon Alter is vice president of voter services and co-chair of voter service with the League of Women Voters of Illinois. She says in-person, face-to-face registration always will have a place of importance.

“People still like the personal contact,” Alter said. “And that contact is important not just with prospective older voters, but also prospective younger voters. During the course of the in-person voter registration, some voting questions can come up, so there’s an education process, especially for a first-time voter.”

The League of Women Voters of Illinois is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Portions of the automatic voter registration law have begun to roll out. Earlier this month, Illinois’ Department of Motor Vehicle employees began to check for a customer’s voter registration online and allow citizens to sign-up if they wish to “opt-in”. Eventually, any eligible resident interacting with the DMV automatically will be registered to vote.

“The League of Women Voters Illinois is part of a coalition that supported the passage of this legislation,” Alter said. “Obviously, what all of us have to do is an education campaign. And that education campaign for voters about the process and the alternative here is just beginning.”

Illinois previously opened up online and same-day registration as part of a sweeping change to election laws in 2014. Alter says that didn’t really slow the demand for in-person sign-ups.

“When online voter registration started, as lot of people thought in-person voter registration would die out, but it really hasn’t,” Alter said. “And I would say at least for a while, even with automatic voter registration, in-person voter registration will still continue.”

Alter says she’s noticed a recent increase in voting interest across the board, but particularly among younger citizens.

“There’s an undercurrent of activism and interest and that’s across the board in ages, but particularly among younger voters,” Alter said. “A number of organizations have increased their membership, certainly since the November 2016 election, including the League of Women Voters.

Meanwhile, as part of the state’s membership in a national voter database, Illinois is required to try to reach people who are eligible to vote but who aren’t registered.
That means the state soon will spend $240,000 to send letters to unregistered voters.


Article by Scot Bertram, for more news visit


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2018 Election

McCann, Libertarians avoid petition objections

Thomas Clatterbuck



Two of the major third party challengers in the race for governor cleared another hurdle yesterday, as the window to challenge a candidate’s petition signatures closed. Neither McCann of the Conservative Party nor Kash Jackson of the Libertarians will face a petition challenge. This ensures both new parties will show up on the ballot in November. Most of the Green, Libertarian, and Independent candidates for Congress or the General Assembly were not so fortunate.

Candidates are required to turn in a certain number of signatures to get on the ballot. Because not every signature will pass muster, they are allowed to turn in two to three times as many as they need (depending on the office). Rivals will often challenge the petition signatures if they believe that a candidate failed to turn in enough valid signatures. After an investigation process, a candidate can be struck from the ballot if they lack the necessary number.

Even if a candidate is eventually vindicated, dealing with a challenge is both expensive and time consuming. Both Jackson and McCann took the same approach to avoid one, and turned in far more signatures than needed. An independent running for statewide office needs a minimum of 25,000 valid signatures. The Libertarians turned in nearly 48,000 signatures; McCann reportedly gathered some 65,000 signatures. Because they ran as a slate, all of the Libertarian statewide candidates also avoided a challenge.

To learn more about the candidates for governor, check out our Campaign Headquarters page.

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