Democrats Muscle Through Changes to Illinois Election Law

Last week, Democrats passed brazen legislation to change Illinois election law to their own self-serving political advantages, stifle the ability of the Republican Party to fill office vacancies, and place meaningless non-binding questions on the ballot to drive Democrat voters to the polls.

The Democrats’ amendment to SB 2412 was filed and muscled through the House and Senate in 24 hours and favors self-serving political corruption over any semblance of transparency. In protest to the process and content of the measure, House Republican lawmakers stood united in voting “present” on the bill. Following that vote, House Republican Leader Tony McCombie and the Republican caucus held a press conference to reiterate that House Republicans will not play the political games House Democrats are prioritizing this spring.

“Serious legislators should want to give time for the public to understand the impact on our state,” said Leader McCombie. “We’re used to seeing this kind of maneuvering on May 31, but we don’t understand the sense of urgency right now, unless the end goal is to stifle the democratic process through the changes on slating candidates.”

“This united position is about providing checks and balances much needed in state government,” continued McCombie.

Senate Bill 2412, which many have dubbed the “Katie Stuart Protection Act,” ends the longstanding practice of allowing local party organizations to appoint candidates to the ballot for the general election in uncontested legislative races. This slating process also requires a candidate to collect and file signed petitions by registered voters within the respective district.

Rep. Stuart, a Metro East Democrat, faced no opposition coming out of the March primary until local Republicans slated a Republican candidate and filed the required petition signatures with the Illinois State Board of Elections hours before final passage of SB 2412.

Governor JB Pritzker signed the measure only hours after telling reporters he had not seen all the details of the measure. The Governor signed the bill into law almost immediately following Senate concurrence with the House amendments.

Deputy Republican Leader Ryan Spain denounced the Democrats’ political games.

“The Democratic Majority has the ability to put real questions on the ballot, such as Fair Maps and critically needed Ethics Reform; but today they chose to play games. It’s disingenuous. They are disenfranchising voters and suppressing competition: what this bill intended. In short, this initiative prevents choice and competition in our elections. The rules shouldn’t be changing in the middle of the election cycle,” said Rep. Spain.

“The losers in all of this are the voters and the people of Illinois who deserve checks and balances and they deserve elections that are actually competitive,” Spain added.

State Rep. Blaine Wilhour said the Democrats are wanting to take choices away from voters.

“To me it’s subverting democracy and since when are the Democrats limiting ballot access?” Wilhour told The Center Square. “My question is, ‘who thinks we need a referendum to lower property taxes?’ If you think we need a referendum on that, you’re an idiot.”

Wilhour said the state is crushing citizens under oppressive property taxes. Illinoisans pay the second highest property taxes in the nation.

There are a slew of bills out there that would bring down property taxes, but Wilhour said the Democrats won’t come to the table.