• Dr. Lora Chamberlain

IL Lawmakers Should Make It Easier To Place Citizen-led Referenda On The Ballot Not Harder!

Hello democracy lovers in IL,

IL Legislators appear to resent it when citizens take their democracy into their own hands, and file petitions to place citizen led public initiatives on the ballot!

Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch is trying to make it impossible for the citizens of Chicago, and other towns in Illinois, to qualify citizen led referenda

- PLEASE FIGHT BACK AGAINST HB 0528, HB 0529, and HB 0530!

Do you remember the citizen led drive to gather thousands of signatures to put Term Limits for the Mayor of Chicago on the ballot?

Do you remember voting for Term Limits for the Mayor last November, but never hearing if it won or not?

Rahm squelched the "Term Limits For Mayor" citizen initiative by quickly passing 3 referenda through the City Council which bumped our citizen referenda from the ballot. But then our referenda had to be printed on the ballot because of legal challenges. Then they used the "Rule of 3" to justify not counting our votes at all! The legislators argue that the "Rule of 3" is necessary to prevent "ballot clutter" - we say hogwash!

Ex Gov Quinn is still fighting in Appellate Court for those votes to be counted - we will see how that case turns out. Instead of fixing this horrific affront to our democracy, Rep. Emanuel Chris Welch, with HB 0528, HB 0529 and HB 0530, is attempting to weigh down your ability to be successful with citizen led initiatives.

Each one of these bills has been substituted with an Amendment 1 which focuses on a specific type of initiative:

HB 528 Election Petition for Helping Veterans A binding ordinance relating to helping veterans of any branch of service in the armed forces of the United States may be proposed by a petition signed by the number of electors equal to at least 8% of the total votes cast for Governor at the last general election in the unit of local government.

HB 529 Election Petition to Maintain a Healthful Environment A binding ordinance relating to providing and maintaining a healthful environment may be proposed by a petition signed by the number of electors equal to at least 8% of the total votes cast for Governor at the last general election in the unit of local government.

HB 530 Election Petition for Ethical Standards The electors of any unit of local government may pass, by initiative petition and referendum in the manner prescribed by this Article, a binding ordinance relating to ethical standards that the corporate authorities of their unit of local government are empowered to pass.

Instead of making it easier for citizens to be successful with these referenda - Rep. Welch is making it harder! The bills call for the "Rule of 3" to apply to all of these types of initiatives, and he has maintained a very high level of signatures to get these referenda on the ballot in the first place - he wants 8% of the total of the last Gubernatorial turnout in any city. In Chicago that represents 71,105 valid signatures - it takes a herculean effort to get that many signatures - this is too high of a bar for citizens to overcome! The signature requirement should be diminished to 4-5%, this would represent 35,500 - 44,400 signatures, that should be enough signatures for the citizens to put a question on the ballot. Democracy should not be this prohibitive!


Call your IL legislators at 1-217-782-2000, tell them that we love expanded types of citizen-led referenda, but we do not want to fight the Rule of 3, and we think there should be a smaller # of signatures required to exercise our right to put an issue on the ballot.


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