Laws governing local ballot measures in Illinois
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|A guide to local ballot initiatives|
This article sets out the laws governing local ballot measures in Illinois. It explains:
- Which local units of government make the initiative process available to residents.
- How and whether local units of government, including school districts, can refer local ballot measures (such as school bond propositions) to the ballot.
- An overview of laws governing local recall elections.
Types of local government
Local government in Illinois consists of:
- 1,298 city governments.
- 1,431 township governments.
- 102 county governments.
- In addition, there are 3,232 special districts and 905 independent school districts.
Illinois mandates school districts to hold elections for issuing bonding for new construction and capital improvements, exceeding the property tax cap, or to create a working cash fund. Since 2006, Illinois has had referendums over the property tax cap which is governed under the Illinois Property Tax Cap Act of 2006 which requires voter approval if a school district wants to exceed their property tax cap for up to four years. The other type of referendum is a Chapter 20 referendum. Under Chapter 20, a school district must have voter approval if the voters petition a school district to create a working cash fund to pay liabilities. Only school districts that serve a city, town, or village less than 500,000 in population can hold a Chapter 20 referendum.
Local recall rules
Recall of local elected officials in Illinois is available in at least one jurisdiction: Buffalo Grove, where Lisa Stone was recalled from her position as a member of the City Council on November 2, 2010. The Stone recall is believed to be the first local recall in the history of Illinois. It came about after city election laws were changed in 2010 in order to allow for a local recall election.
- For additional detail, see: Laws governing recall in Illinois
Initiative process availability
Illinois law provides for an advisory (non-binding, no legal effect) initiative process on questions of public policy. A binding referendum is required on limited matters, such as tax levies and bonds (Chap 10 Election Code, Art. 28). Residents of home-rule counties and cities may change their form of government or revert to general law governance by initiative. While mostly formal, this process can have some effects on policy. For example, under the general law, city governments face greater restrictions on raising taxes. Thus, switching from home-rule to general law can help limit tax increases.
There is no broad ordinance initiative process in any of Illinois' cities.
|List of Most Populated Cities in Illinois|
|City||Population||City Type||Next election|
|Chicago||2,707,120||Home rule||No I&R|
|Aurora||199,672||Home rule||No I&R|
|Rockford||152,222||General law||No I&R|
|Joliet||148,402||Home rule||No I&R|
|Naperville||142,773||Home rule||No I&R|
|Springfield||117,076||Home rule||No I&R|
|Peoria||115,234||Home rule||No I&R|
|Elgin||109,104||Home rule||No I&R|
|Waukegan||89,426||Home rule||No I&R|
|Cicero||84,261||Home rule||No I&R|
|Local I&R Laws in the 50 States|
|Source:Local Ballot Initiatives: How citizens change laws with |
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- Laws governing ballot measures
- Laws governing local ballot measures
- Local ballot measures, Illinois
- Counties in Illinois
- Ballotpedia Research Document, Local Initiative in Illinois
- Illinois Municipal League
- Illinois Municipal League, "Home Rule Municipalities"
- The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 study of local governments
- Buffalo Grove Patch, "he Verdict's In — Stone is Out," November 3, 2010
- BuffaloGrove-Countryside, "Buffalo Grove trustees praise recall proposal," September 21, 2009
- Daily Herald, "Buffalo Grove recall vote to make history," October 31, 2010
- Chicago Now, "Buffalo Grove Recall Ordinance violates US Constitution, IL Constitution, IL Election Code," September 29, 2009
- Daily Herald, "Buffalo Grove puts Stone vote to public," August 10, 2010
- Illinois Constitution, Article VII, Section 6, accessed October 19, 2012
- Mount Vernon Register-News, "Chamber supports keeping Home Rule," October 19, 2012
- Ballotpedia: Types and #'s of local government by state
- US Census Bureau "City and Town Totals: Vintage 2011 (Population figures as of 2011 Census estimates)