Upcoming Elections

Illinois Midterm Election: March 15, 2022

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Offices on the Ballot

In even numbered years, Illinois ballots include candidates for federal and statewide offices, state senator and state representatives, judges, and multi-County School offices. Candidates for established parties file for the primary election. Independent and new party candidates file for the general election.

Ballots in 2022 will include:

  • US Senate – Incumbent Tammy Duckworth (D)
  • US Congress – All Seats*
  • IL Governor – Incumbent J.B. Pritzker (D)
  • IL Lieutenant Governor – Incumbent Juliana Straton (D)
  • IL Attorney General – Incumbent Kwame Raoul (D)
  • IL Secretary of State – Open Seat [Incumbent Jesse White (D) has announced he will not seek reelection]
  • IL Comptroller – Incumbent Susana Mendoza (D)
  • IL Treasurer – Incumbent Mike Frerich (D)
  • IL State Senate – All Seats*
  • IL State House of Representatives – All Seats*
  • IL Judicial Elections – TBA
  • County Elections – Multiple positions in Cook and other counties, including positions such as: Assessor, Clerk, Sheriff, Board of Commissioners, Board of Review, Water Reclamation District Board, Circuit Court

* Subject to Redistricting

Redistricting following the 2020 census

On February 12, 2021, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that it would deliver redistricting data to the states by September 30, 2021, requiring states to postpone their redistricting efforts.

Make a plan to vote

Register to vote today!

Mail in ballot requests begin in mid-December 2021.

The last day to request a mail in ballot is March 10, 2022.

Election Day is March 15, 2022!

Elections Blog

‘Audit?’ ‘Investigation?’ What should we call what happened in Arizona?

A few weeks ago, the Philadelphia Inquirer announced they would no longer call the vote recount in Arizona, or attempts to do a recount in Pennsylvania or anywhere else, an ‘audit.’ An investigation, yes. A probe or a review, sure, though often with the qualifier ‘partisan.’ A box explaining this decision is supposed to appear in every article dealing with the subject. 

Why? As the paper’s assistant managing editor, Dan Hirschhorn, told On the Media’s Sasha Pfeiffer in a September 24 podcast, “There are huge questions that remain unanswered regarding the extent to which partisan, political players may have a role in the process, so we’re not calling it an audit... ‘Audit’ is not an accurate word to describe what we know to be happening.”

Need more examples of how words might not accurately reflect what we know to be happening? On the Media’s Pfeiffer noted that when she was covering events at Guantanamo Bay, she stopped using the word “detainee” and used “prisoners” instead. “Enhanced interrogation?” She switched to “torture” because, as she said in the podcast, “You have to call it what it is.”

The fact is, when we accept words and descriptions without thinking about what those words are actually saying, we are tacitly accepting someone else’s narrative. When words are purposely used to try to hide reality, it’s up to us to change the narrative back to reality. “States rights?” It’s usually a shorthand for white supremacy. “Lost cause?” Shorthand for a rebellion to defend slavery. To sugar-coat it is to deny reality.

Journalists, unfortunately, are always looking for an easy catchphrase to use in their deadline writing. That’s why Hirschhorn says that now is the time to start educating everyone—not just voters, but also local and national journalists—that words matter, that it’s time to stop taking the easy way out.

“We told our readers for months before the November election that who’s in the lead and the vote margin would change as ballots were counted…that it’s not fraud, not any kind of vote-rigging. It will simply be the system working, albeit slowly.”

And that’s the way to report reality.

–Terry Maher, Managing Editor of the Voting Rights Gazette

(The entire On the Media podcast is at https://bit.ly/3A5eAeO.) 


IDCCA Virtual Training Series (VTS) March 2021 – Upcoming Trainings

ILDems Virtual Training Series (VTS)

In 2020, the Illinois Democratic County Chairs’ Association (IDCCA) launched a statewide Virtual Training Series (VTS) to help train County Chairs, Precinct Committeepersons, Volunteers, & Candidates throughout Illinois. The VTS is an hour long session that connects grassroots Democrats with elected officials & politicos to help build their organizations.

All trainings start at 6pm (unless otherwise noted). The training will last around an hour with a 15 minute Q&A session at the end.

March 2021 – Upcoming Trainings

Thursday, March 25, 2021 – The Nuts & Bolts of County Level Redistricting

April 2021 – Upcoming Trainings

Monday, April 5, 2021 – The Nuts & Bolts of Constituent Services

Previous 2021 Trainings

The Nuts & Bolts of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) & the Open Meetings Act – January 14, 2021

The Nuts & Bolts of serving on County Board – January 21, 2021

The Nuts & Bolts of Coalition Building & Legislative Priorities for local Democrats – February 1, 2021

The Nuts & Bolts of serving as a Countywide official – February 3, 2021

Criminal Justice Reform Panel Discussion – February 8, 2021

The Nuts & Bolts of Municipal Budgeting – March 10, 2021

Click here to see the 2020 VTS Sessions

If you have any questions regarding the Virtual Training Series or would like to request a specific training, please contact dan@ildcca.org.

Read the IDCCA 2020 Annual Report.

Twitterstorms for the 2021 Consolidated Election in Illinois

Twitterstorms IL
by Gretchen Coleman @ballot_z

Goal of Twitterstorm

The goal of the Twitterstorm is to use Twitter strategically to proliferate reliable, reputable election information and voting resources on users’ feeds. The strategy takes two main forms:

  • Get hashtags trending: Each tweet during the Twitterstorm features the same hashtags (for the Consolidated Election effort, we’re using #VirusFreeVotingIllinois and #twill). Using these hashtags repeatedly within a set period of time increases the likelihood that the hashtag will start trending on Twitter.
  • Tweet “hunting”: During the Twitterstorm, we look for recent tweets from Twitter “influencers” – politicians, public figures, celebrities, etc. – who are reaching our desired audience. We add comments on these recent tweets that provide information and resources about the upcoming elections. This way, when a user opens this influencer’s tweet, our comment with the helpful information will be listed underneath.

Key to both of these strategies is the amplification of others’ tweets. We encourage volunteers to both tweet on their own accounts as well as interact with (like, comment, retweet) everyone else’s tweets – this boosts the tweets in the Twitter algorithm.

Election authorities and politicians have expressed the need for grassroots support for spreading reputable election information on social media, so we’ve developed the Twitterstorm techniques to fit this need. This is an important supplement to other organizing efforts like canvassing and phone banking.


Indivisible Illinois and NWSOFA have been hosting regular Twitterstorms since early summer 2020. The first goal was to encourage participation in vote by mail in response to COVID-19 for the 2020 presidential election. The next  big round was to promote turnout in the 2021 Georgia runoff elections. For this current rendition, Ballot Z has joined the effort to increase awareness of and participation in the Illinois Consolidated Election on April 6, where we provide general information about voting procedures and local election resources. New also this round is the inclusion of local candidates. Each week focuses on a different region/set of candidates across the state; we give these candidates a platform to talk about important issues, and we incorporate their messaging and campaign needs into the evening’s tweets. 


  • Weekly events: We hold a Twitterstorm every week over Zoom to give volunteers a chance to gather and amplify each others’ tweets. For the Consolidated Election, the storms are 6-8 every Thursday. We tend to spend about half an hour featuring local candidates and then go over the toolkit and other materials for the evening. The next hour or so is spent tweeting (while playing music in the background), with a few check-ins to touch base. The last fifteen minutes is a debrief to ask questions and share successes.
  • Materials: To make tweeting as easy and accessible as possible for volunteers, we have developed a toolkit that explains the process and includes dozens of pre-written tweets about both candidates and election procedure. We also make use of Ballot Z’s graphics to add visuals.  
  • Planning/messaging: Each week before the Twitterstorm (currently, Mondays from 5:30-6:30), we meet to discuss logistics and strategize messaging for the week. Our Twitterstorm is constantly evolving in response to feedback from experts and our own improving understanding of Twitter, so we’re always looking to improve on our past efforts. 


Ballot Z website traffic since we began the Twitterstorms:

(we use this as a resource in most of our tweets, so it’s a pretty good indicator of tweet success – you can see it spike every Thursday/Friday after the Twitterstorm!)

#VirusFreeVotingIllinois reach 3/4-3/11

We use the free website socialbearing.com to track tweet impressions.


Next: Tweet-o-Rama

We’re going to celebrate the culmination of this election’s efforts with a “Tweet-o-Rama” on April 1st! In addition to our regularly-scheduled 6-8pm Twitterstorm, we’ll be inviting all past candidates back during the day to do one final GOTV push. We have a special toolkit to make it easy for people to participate for even just a few minutes throughout the day. Join us on April 1st to boost turnout for this vital but underappreciated part of our democracy!   

Gretchen Coleman Photo: Syracuse.edu

Video: Progressive Northside Coalition 7th District State Senate Forum

90 minute, Progressive Northside Coalition 7th District State Senate Forum

We demand publicly visible negotiation and votes for this appointment. Sign our petition at https://actionsprout.io/479B7E/

Co-Sponsoring Groups include: Anti-Racist Andersonville, Sunrise Movement Chicago, 40th United, Network 49, 48th Ward Neighbors for Justice, 50th Ward Action Network, and Indivisible IL9.

Moderator: Stephanie Skora, author, Progressive Voter Guide, Girl, I Guess

Watch on Facebook Live, Indivisible IL9 https://fb.watch/3p_hlfk8ll/

Coalition questions to candidates:

  1. Resignations and appointments have characterized the Northside for decades, particularly with the state senate and representative seats. Do you as a candidate join us in our demand that committee members have an open voting and negotiation process for voters to witness? What reforms to the appointment process will you commit to?

  2. What role should Springfield have in reducing racist policing practices in Chicago?

  3. What will you do specifically to protect frontline communities from polluters and explicitly address environmental racism/injustice in our transition to a “Green Economy”?

  4. How would you stay engaged in local communities in your district and make sure you’re representing the community voice?


Indivisible IL9 Calls for Placeholder in Senate District 7 and Open Appointment Deliberations

Indivisible IL9 members discuss the appointment process and how backroom deals and status quo procedures perpetuate Chicago Machine style politics and oppresses community leaders from stepping up to run for office.

Recent Indivisible IL9 Press

Lori Ashikawa’s LTE published in the Sun-Times (Jan 29):

Once again, Chicago Democratic machine thwarts the power of our vote


Chicago Tribune Editorial Board (Jan 26)

We don’t begrudge anyone who suddenly faces unforeseen obligations or gets new opportunities that are too good to pass up. But when elected legislators bail out, voters are deprived of the person they chose to represent them — and deprived of a role in the replacement. This is not healthy for democracy. It encourages cynicism among voters — rightfully so — that is already in high supply. It feeds distrust in government that carries serious consequences of frustration, numbness and disengagement. 



Chicago Magazine (Jan 26):

How to Succeed in Politics Without Winning an Election


Sun-Times re-cap of IL9 Democracy in Action meeting w/ candidates (Jan 26):

No ‘smoke-filled’ Zoom: Rep. Kelly Cassidy defends process to fill Steans’ state Senate seat


Indivisible IL9 Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth on Joan Esposito, WCPT (Jan 26 at 1:57)



Sun-Times coverage of Steans retirement (Jan 24)

Some worry process to pick senator replacement on North Side ‘leaves behind the voters’


Politico: Illinois Playbook (Jan 22)



Capitol Fax : Musical Chairs (Jan 25)



Capitol Fax : Another Process Kerfuffle (Jan 26)

Lots of attacks on both Leni and Indivisible IL9 in this post and the comments:



Other background and articles


CBS: Illinois State Sen. Heather Steans, North Side Democrat, Resigning After 12 Years In Office (Jan 19, 2021)


January 23, 2021 Live from the Heartland interview at :28  “we on the Northside – we do things differently than others across the state.“ – Kelly Cassidy


48th Ward Follies, Chicago Reader Nov 15, 2007 (we have a long history of this issue)


Compare how different states fill vacancies: How vacancies are filled in state legislatures


Facebook: Maria Hadden post 7th District Senate Seat Vacancy Process



Follow Indivisible IL9 on Twitter

Observations and Recommendations After November 2020 Illinois General Election

Governor Pritzker signed temporary legislation for the 2020 Illinois general election. That legislation has now expired. Now is the time to identify what worked and what did not in order to craft better permanent election legislation. There are municipal elections coming up for most of the state in April 2021 and any changes that can be implemented for those probably need to be passed in January 2021. Legislation for elections in 2022 and beyond is expected to be proposed, discussed, and hopefully passed before the 2021 Legislative Session concludes in May.

Indivisible Illinois has developed the following set of observations and recommendations based on our work and feedback regarding VirusFreeVotingIllinois.org as well as conversations with poll workers, County Clerks, the Illinois State Board of Elections, and State Senator Julie Morrison.

TL;DR Recommendations

  • Implement for April: Allow jurisdictions to continue to use dropboxes.
  • Implement for 2022: Allow jurisdictions to opt into sending absentee ballots to every registered voter / every voter in the last 3-4 elections. This will greatly simplify the process for voters and reduce work for election authorities. Having address changes made at the DMV/USPS automatically update voter registration will make this far more possible.
  • Implement for 2022: Allow registered Illinois voters to request permanent absentee ballot status so they will automatically receive an absentee ballot in the language of their choice in all future elections. (as long as they vote in at least one of the last 3-4 elections?)

Voter Registration, Absentee Ballot Application and Status


  • Some jurisdictions made this really easy, some made it more difficult than necessary. Even a poor online ballot application process was far better than no online ballot application process.
  • Some jurisdictions provided online status and/or email confirmation when a ballot changed state. Chicago did this really well. In Suburban Cook we heard reports of people not receiving the emails but they were able to get the status online…eventually.
  • Some jurisdictions sent absentee ballot applications to all registered voters and some only sent applications to voters in the last 3 elections. This led to a small amount of confusion but overall worked well.
  • The additional field on the printed voter registration forms to request a mail in ballot was great and eliminated confusion for those who used that process. In the future, it would be nice to see this option universally applied to online registration forms as well.
  • In jurisdictions that did not provide online ballot applications, the ballot application form provided on the ISBE site and the one provided on the election authority site often differed.
  • In a number of cases, the election authority did not provide any absentee ballot forms or made them extremely difficult to find on their site.
  • Many voters were intimidated by the required agreements on the ISBE site just to find the absentee ballot application for their jurisdiction. It was unclear what they were agreeing to or why agreement was required. It felt like a subtle form of voter suppression/intimidation.
  • Some voters (elderly and infrequent) got confused by the ballot application vs the absentee ballot. We heard multiple times that people had already “completed their ballot” when they really meant that they had completed their ballot application.
  • Suburban Cook County had delays in sending out and processing returned absentee ballots. Many voters got concerned when their friends in neighboring jurisdictions started voting and they had yet to receive their ballots. This resulted in a lot of people who requested absentee ballots voting early (i.e., provisionally) prior to receiving their absentee ballot and creating more work for poll workers, election officials, etc. Voters in these counties also got rather concerned when it took nearly a week to get a confirmation that their ballot had been received/processed. In both cases, this was notable primarily in being the exception within the state. Hopefully, Cook County will improve their response times for the next election.
  • Some Lake County voters were confused by the addition of a security envelope and instructions that referenced signing by a red X even though the envelope was printed in black and white. Few, if any, other jurisdictions required security envelopes. Lake County may also have experienced delays processing returned envelopes similar to Suburban Cook County.
  • Suburban Cook and Lake Counties were the only counties where more than 10% of registered voters had unreturned absentee ballots as of election day. This was likely a result of the processing problems mentioned above, but as a consequence it was entirely unsurprising that these jurisdictions had most of the races that took days to call or appeared to flip from the leader on election night to a different winner days later.
  • The Secretary of State sent out a letter to many voters who had requested absentee ballots incorrectly stating that they had not submitted their absentee ballot application. This created a ton of confusion.


  • To Be Corrected: Identify and eliminate whatever problems caused the processing delays in Suburban Cook and Lake Counties.
  • To Be Corrected: Any future absentee ballot reminder letters need to include information for voters on how to confirm the status of their ballots: website link (statewide or jurisdiction specific), phone number, etc.
  • Possible for April (may already exist?): Provide an absentee ballot registration option (checkbox) on all voter registration forms (printed and online) to eliminate the need to complete multiple forms.
  • Update ISBE Website: Remove unnecessary acceptance buttons for users trying to find the absentee ballot application for their jurisdiction.
  • Update ISBE Website: Provide a single landing page/starting point for all residents who want to register, confirm their registration, request an absentee ballot, or check their ballot status.
  • Implement for 2022: Allow jurisdictions to opt into sending absentee ballots to every registered voter / every voter in the last 3-4 elections. This will greatly simplify the process for voters and reduce work for election authorities. Having address changes made at the DMV/USPS automatically update voter registration will make this far more possible.
  • Implement for 2022: Allow registered Illinois voters to request permanent absentee ballot status so they will automatically receive an absentee ballot in the language of their choice in all future elections. (as long as they vote in at least one of the last 3-4 elections?)
  • Wish List: Allow all registered Illinois voters to request absentee ballots online.
  • Wish List: Send ballot status updates via email to every Illinois voter where email is available.
  • Wish List: Allow all registered Illinois voters to check their ballot status online.
  • Wish List: Have a prepaid universal/standard ballot envelope format statewide. This will simplify tracking and processing by USPS and election authorities as well as voter education. 

Poll Workers/Techs


  • Many jurisdictions were concerned about poll workers early on yet received far more poll worker requests than they had available positions. This was great to see.
  • The push to get high school students signed up to be poll workers was great. This is a wonderful way to build/ensure trust in our electoral process with young people.
  • Experienced poll workers and first time high school poll workers greatly enjoyed the experience working together.
  • High schoolers were thrilled because they were paid, received extra credit, and logged service hours.
  • At some early voting sites, poll workers had to turn away late arriving voters on the last day of early voting in order to get everything closed up at a reasonable hour that night and be ready for election day.
  • Technical problems with voting machines were not always addressed in a timely or effective fashion. In some cases, poll workers called in to say machines were down and all the tech did was show up to confirm that without offering any solution. In some cases, it appeared long time techs did not have up to date knowledge on current machines. In one specific instance, 2 precincts were located in the same building, but one had long lines and the other had no line because of problematic machines, yet it was either not possible or no one thought to take a machine from the precinct with no lines to the one with long lines.


  • To Be Corrected: Ensure poll techs are up to date on current technology being used and have sufficient spare equipment to resolve problems.
  • Implement for 2022: Keep the state holiday and the 16 year minimum age for poll workers, so high school students can get the day off to be poll workers.
  • Suggestion for 2022: Consider ending the last day of early voting at 5pm instead of 7pm, so poll workers have plenty of time to wrap up early voting and prepare for election day.

Dropboxes/Early Voting


  • The dropboxes worked very smoothly and were an efficient and expedient way to submit absentee ballots.
  • There were questions about whether ballots could be returned in a dropbox for any jurisdiction or if it had to be a dropbox for that jurisdiction. Overall, voters tended to err on the side of caution, but clarity on this point would be helpful.
  • Some jurisdictions promised to have people manning the dropboxes and checking ballots before they were submitted. That sporadically happened and in the places where they did it, they reported correcting a lot of potentially problematic ballots (missing signatures, unsealed envelopes, etc).


  • Implement for April: Allow jurisdictions to continue to use dropboxes.
  • Update ISBE Website: Provide a page where residents can select their jurisdiction and then see all the ways to vote in that jurisdiction: early voting sites/dates, dropbox sites/dates, and election day locations. Right now these are all on separate pages which makes it hard for voters to see all their options.
  • Implement for 2022: There should be more dropboxes available earlier in the cycle. It would be great to have permanent outside (24×7) dropboxes in future elections so voters can have confidence knowing where to drop off their ballots.
  • Wish List: Allow voters to return their absentee ballot via any dropbox within the state.
  • Wish List: Register permanent dropbox locations on Google/Apple Maps so users can readily find the closest dropbox.
  • Wish List: Provide ballot on demand option to give voters the capability to vote on hand-marked paper ballots in jurisdictions that currently only allow machine voting during early voting.


  • Suggestion: Illinois can do a far better job messaging that all ballots received/processed prior to election day will be counted and reported on election night. Many people were confused by the national messaging and lack of clear in state messaging on this point. A lot of people who originally intended to vote absentee ultimately chose to exchange their absentee ballots for in person ballots out of concern that the absentee ballots might not be counted. In a number of cases, this resulted in provisional ballots, which only makes more work and delays results. Clearer messaging can really make a difference here.

Future Considerations

Risk Limiting Audits


  • Audits in Illinois are conducted primarily by machine tabulation. Before results are certified, officials randomly  sample and audit 5% of the precincts in their jurisdictions as well as 5% of the machines used in early voting.
  • Absentee Ballots in Illinois are not currently audited.
  • Provided is research pertaining to the need for improved audits:
    • Verified Voting: There are currently no election day audits in place to determine if votes cast match the outcomes. Improvement of post-election audits are needed.
    • Cook County Clerk’s Office White Paper: States with great audits that (detect) and paper ballots that (recover) are much more resilient. Investigate audit styles that bring the highest level of confidence: Risk Limiting Audits.
  • Conducting rigorous audits enhances confidence in the correctness of election outcomes.
  • Per the National Conference of State Legislatures, three states have a statutory requirement for a Risk Limiting Audit: Colorado, Rhode Island, and Virginia. 
  • Ohio and Washington provide options for counties to run different types of audits, one of which being a Risk Limiting Audit.
  • Beginning in 2020 California counties may conduct a Risk Limiting Audit in lieu of a traditional post-election audit.


  • We would like to see Illinois’ auditing processes enhanced.
  • Illinois needs Risk Limiting Audits, an easy, economic and efficient method for verifying that vote tallies are accurate by hand-counting a statistically meaningful sample of the votes cast
  • A pilot could be the first step. Lake County which uses all hand-marked paper ballots for early and election day voting would be an excellent county to initiate it. Note that other states could serve as models.
  • We recommend implementing risk limiting audits for absentee ballots to ensure their integrity in future elections under the assumption that more and more people will choose to vote absentee from now on.

Ranked Choice Voting

  • What we saw play out in the Presidential primary process earlier this year (before COVID-19) made a strong case for using ranked choice voting in that race, so that early and absentee voters can cast their vote with confidence that it will be counted even if their favorite candidate drops out the weekend before election day. It will also allow votes to move from non-viable candidates to their next choice.
  • Allowing ranked choice voting for key municipal races (i.e., Chicago Mayor) would save a lot of time and cost by avoiding the potential need for a runoff election.

Georgia Runoff Zoom Postcard Writing Party 12.18.20 at 7pm CST with Indivisible DuPage

Zoom Postcard Writing Party #2 – Time’s running out, don’t wait until it’s too late

Friday December 18, 2020 at 7pm-9pm CT

Now that many people have received their cards, it’s time to plan a get-together! Let’s join together on FRIDAY, DEC 18 from 7-9PM CST for postcard writing, conversation, friendship, and your own beverages!
If you are in the DuPage area and need cards, please sign up here  and we can arrange getting them to you.
Otherwise, you can still order them directly from postcardstoswingstates.com!
Here’s the Zoom link for the party: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/84753571534
Share this Facebook event: https://fb.me/e/1l2C1kFlM

Grassroots for Daniel Blackman for Public Service Commission Event Dec. 9, 2020, 6pm CT

Share Facebook Event: https://fb.me/e/6ch3leMhp

Register: https://bit.ly/Grassroots4Daniel

Donate: http://bit.ly/Donate4Daniel


WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 9, at 6pm CT, TWENTY grassroots and Indivisible groups from across Georgia are co-hosting an event for Daniel Blackman for Public Service Commission.Why does Daniel’s race for Public Service Commission matter so much?

1. ENERGY: Georgia has the 8th highest energy bills in the US. 18% of the average Georgian’s paycheck goes towards energy bills.

2. EQUITY: We can’t breathe! Georgia’s Energy solutions are polluting our air and poisoning our water. 64% of Georgia’s most environmentally toxic sites are located in Black communities.

3. ACCESS: Rural Georgia internet service deserts have left half a million homes and businesses behind.
Please join us in helping elect Daniel Blackman for Public Service Commission!


Register: https://bit.ly/Grassroots4Daniel
Donate: http://bit.ly/Donate4Daniel

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