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Laws governing the initiative process in Illinois

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Contents
1 Laws and procedures
1.1 Crafting an initiative
1.1.1 Single-subject rule
1.1.2 Subject restrictions
1.1.3 Competing initiatives
1.2 Starting a petition
1.2.1 Applying to petition
1.2.2 Proposal review/approval
1.2.3 Petition summary
1.2.4 Fiscal review
1.3 Collecting signatures
1.3.1 Number required
1.3.2 Distribution requirements
1.3.3 Restrictions on circulators
1.3.4 Electronic signatures
1.3.5 Deadlines for collection
1.4 Getting on the ballot
1.4.1 Signature verification
1.4.2 Ballot title and summary
1.5 The election and beyond
1.5.1 Supermajority requirements
1.5.2 Effective date
1.5.3 Litigation
1.5.4 Legislative tampering
1.5.5 Re-attempting an initiative
1.6 Funding an initiative campaign
1.7 State initiative law
2 Changes in the law

Citizens of Illinois may only initiate constitutional amendments. Citizens may not initiate state statutes or veto referendums. The Illinois General Assembly may place legislatively-referred constitutional amendments on the ballot with a three-fifths majority vote of each chamber.

Crafting an initiative

Of the 24 states that allow citizens to initiate legislation through the petition process, several states have adopted restrictions and regulations that limit the scope and content of proposed initiatives. These regulations may include laws that mandate that initiatives address only one topic, restrict the range of acceptable topics for proposed laws, prohibit unfunded mandates, and establish guidelines for adjudicating contradictory measures.

Single-subject rule

See also: Single-subject rule

Illinois does not have a single-subject rule.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3 & Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20; 10 ILCS 5/10 & 10 ILCS 5/28

Subject restrictions

See also: Subject restrictions (ballot measures)

Initiated measures in Illinois may only amend Article IV of the Illinois Constitution. In addition, they may only address "structural and procedural subjects contained in Article IV." In Coalition for Political Honesty v. State Board of Elections (1976), the Illinois Supreme Court clarified this provision:

As commonly understood, the word "and" would thus limit initiatives to amendments whose subjects would be both structural and procedural, such as a proposal for the conversion from a bicameral to a unicameral legislature or for the conversion from multiple- to single-member legislative districts. Giving effect to the language of section 3 would produce no absurdity or unreasonable result. This court is without authority to substitute "or" for the "and" the constitutional convention used in stating "structural and procedural" unless a contrary intention is clearly manifested. We judge a contrary intention is not clearly manifested.

At least two subsequent decisions have relied on the interpretation in Coalition to block proposed amendments-- Lousin v. State Board of Elections (1982) and Chicago Bar Association v. Illinois State Board of Elections (1994).

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3 ; Coalition for Political Honesty v. State Board of Elections (1976) ; Lousin v. State Board of Elections (1982) & Chicago Bar Association v. Illinois State Board of Elections (1994)

Competing initiatives

See also: Superseding initiative; "Poison pills"; List of Illinois ballot measures

Illinois law does not address the approval of conflicting measures.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3 & Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20; 10 ILCS 5/10 & 10 ILCS 5/28

Starting a petition

Each initiative and referendum state employs a different procedure for filing petition applications. Some states require preliminary signatures while others do not. In addition, several states review each proposed statute, verifying that the law conforms to the style and conventions of state law and recommending alterations to initiative proponents. Some of these of these states also review the law for more substantive considerations of content and consistency. Also, many states conduct a review of the ballot title and summary, and several states employ a fiscal review process which analyzes proposed laws to determine their impact on state finances.[1][2][3]

Applying to petition

See also: Approved for circulation

In Illinois, neither initiative applications nor draft petitions are required prior to circulation.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20/2

Proposal review/approval

See also: Approved for circulation

No process exists for evaluating petition forms or amendment language prior to circulation. Petitions must contain the text of the amendment and the date of the general election.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3

Petition summary

See also: Ballot measure summary statement

No process exists for evaluating petition language prior to circulation. Petitions must contain the text of the amendment and the date of the general election.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3

Fiscal review

See also: Fiscal impact statements

Illinois does not employ a fiscal review process.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3 & Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20; 10 ILCS 5/10 & 10 ILCS 5/28

Collecting signatures

Each initiative and referendum state employs a unique method of calculating the state's signature requirements. Some states mandate a certain fraction of registered voters while others base their calculation on those who actually voted in a preceding election. In addition, many states employ a distribution requirement, dictating where in the state these signatures must be collected. Beyond these overarching requirements, many states regulate the manner in which signatures may be collected and the timeline for collecting them.

Number required

See also: Illinois signature requirements

The signature requirement for constitutional amendments is 8% of the total votes cast for Governor in the last election.

Year Amendment
2014 298,399
2012 298,399
2010 278,934
2008 279,039

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3

Distribution requirements

See also: Distribution requirements

Illinois does not have a distribution requirement for petition signatures.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3 & Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20; 10 ILCS 5/10 & 10 ILCS 5/28

Restrictions on circulators

Circulator requirements

See also: Petition circulator

No Illinois law prohibiting the circulator from signing the petition was found. Each initiative petition contains a mandatory circulator affidavit. A circulator is required to sign these affidavits before a public notary and he/she must swear to and sign a statement, under the penalty of law, that he/she personally witnessed every act of signing the petition.[4] A person must be 18 years of age and a citizen of the U.S. to be qualified to circulate signatures in Illinois. There is no state residence or voter registration eligibility requirement. Once collection is complete, signatures are submitted to the state board of elections.[4]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Compiled Statutes Sec. 28-3

Pay-per-signature

See also: Pay-per-signature

Illinois does not ban paying circulators by the signature.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3 & Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20; 10 ILCS 5/10 & 10 ILCS 5/28

Out-of-state circulators

See also: Residency requirements for petition circulators

Illinois does not require signature gatherers to be residents of the state.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3 & Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20; 10 ILCS 5/10 & 10 ILCS 5/28

Badge requirements

See also: Badge requirements

Illinois law does not require a circulator's paid/volunteer status to be disclosed.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3 & Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20; 10 ILCS 5/10 & 10 ILCS 5/28

Electronic signatures

See also: Electronic petition signatures

Since electronic signatures are an emerging technology, the constitutionality of bans on e-signatures and the legality of e-signatures in states without bans is largely untested. Illinois does mandate that signatures be collected in the presence of the petition circulator."

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Compiled Statutes, 10 ILCS 5/28-3

Deadlines for collection

See also: Petition drive deadlines; Circulation period

In Illinois, no signatures may be collected earlier than 24 months prior to the general election. Signatures must be filed with the Secretary of State no later than six months prior to the general election, leaving 18 months for circulation.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Compiled Statutes, 10 ILCS 5/28-9

Getting on the ballot

Once signatures have been collected, state officials must verify that requirements are met and that fraudulent signatures are excluded. States generally employ a random sample process or a full verification of signatures. After verification, the issue must be prepared for the ballot. This often involves preparing a fiscal review and ballot summary.

Signature verification

See also: Signature certification

Signatures are filed with the Secretary of State. The Secretary then forwards the signed petition forms to the State Board of Elections. The Board verifies the signature via a random sample method.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Compiled Statutes, 10 ILCS 5/28-11

Ballot title and summary

See also: Ballot title

Prior to filing their signed petitions, proponents must prepare an explanation of and an argument for their amendment. They must also prepare the form of the amendment as it will appear on the ballot. State legislators opposed to the amendment are charged with writing an opposing argument. Once prepared, the ballot language is filed with the Illinois Attorney General. The Attorney General is free to rewrite the language for "accuracy and fairness." Once reviewed, the language is submitted to the Secretary of State with the signature filing.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20/2

The election and beyond

Ballot measures face additional challenges beyond qualifying for the ballot and receiving a majority of the vote. Several states require ballot measures to get more than a simple majority. While some states mandate a 3/5 supermajority, others states set the margin differently. In addition, ballot measures may face legal challenge or modification by legislators. If a ballot measure does fail, some states limit how soon that initiative can be re-attempted.

Supermajority requirements

See also: Supermajority requirements

In Illinois, all amendments must be approved by either (1) a majority of those voting in the election or (2) 3/5 of those voting on the amendment itself.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3

Effective date

Unless otherwise specified by the amendment itself, each amendment will take effect upon the declaration of results by the State Board of Elections.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20/7 & 5 ILCS 20/7.1

Litigation

See also: Ballot measure lawsuit news

After the filing deadline has passed, opponents have 35 days to submit objections to the State Election Board. The Board may call witness, issues subpoenas, and rule on the objection. If the objection is denied, the objector may, within five days, appeal the decision to the Illinois Seventh Judicial Circuit Court.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Compiled Statutes, 10 ILCS 5/10-8 to 10 ILCS 5/10-10.1

Legislative tampering

See also: Legislative tampering

The Illinois General Assembly may only repeal an initiated amendment by placing a repeal measure on the ballot, following the ordinary process for legislatively-referred constitutional amendments. Each chamber of the General Assembly must pass the amendment by a 3/5 majority. Voters must approve the measure by either (1) a majority of those voting in the election or (2) 3/5 of those voting on the amendment itself.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3

Re-attempting an initiative

Illinois does not limit how soon an initiative can be re-attempted.[5]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Illinois Constitution, Article XIV, Section 3 & Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20; 10 ILCS 5/10 & 10 ILCS 5/28

Funding an initiative campaign

See also: Campaign finance requirements for Illinois ballot measures

Campaign finance requirements for Illinois ballot measures are promulgated by the Illinois State Board of Elections. The Board of Elections is the agency that is responsible for enforcing all campaign finance laws in the State of Illinois. The Board has a disclosure database that lists all campaign finance reports from groups in support or opposition of a ballot measure.[6]

State initiative law

Article XIV of the Illinois Constitution addresses initiatives.

The "Illinois Constitutional Amendment Act" (Illinois Compiled Statutes, 5 ILCS 20) primarily governs initiatives.

External links

References



Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
2 Changes in the law
2.1 Proposed changes by year
2.1.1 2012
2.1.2 2011
2.1.3 2010

The following laws have been proposed which modify ballot measure law in Illinois.

Proposed changes by year

2012

See also: Changes in 2012 to laws governing ballot measures



The following bills were introduced in the Illinois State Legislature:

Defeatedd HB 5207: Provides that, if a statewide projection of valid signatures on a petition for a statewide advisory public question establishes a total number of valid petition signatures greater than 95.0% of the minimum number of signatures required to qualify the proposed statewide advisory public question (now, to qualify the proposed Constitutional amendment or statewide advisory public question) for the ballot, the results of the sample shall be considered inconclusive and the State Board of Elections shall issue a final order declaring the petition to be valid.

Defeatedd HB 4648: Provides for local recall elections.

2011

See also: Changes in 2011 to laws governing ballot measures



The following bills were introduced in the Illinois General Assembly:

Right-facing-Arrow-icon.jpg Illinois House Bill 1854: Excerpt of bill description/summary: "In provisions concerning petitions for constitutional amendments and statewide advisory public questions, provides that on 15th business day (now, the 10th business day) following the last day for petition filing, the State Board of Elections shall conduct a hearing at which the proponents may present arguments and evidence as to the conformity of any purported nonconforming petition signatures. In provisions concerning petition signature verification, requires that within 20 business days (now, 14 business days) following the last day for filing a petition, the State Board of Elections shall prepare and transit to each proper election authority a list of the signatures from its election jurisdiction selected for verification."[1]

Right-facing-Arrow-icon.jpg Illinois House Bill 3438: Excerpt of bill description/summary: "Authorizes citizens to petition the General Assembly to pass one or more bills initiated by citizens that concern ethical standards of conduct or campaign finance reform. Provides that, if the bills do not become law, a question advising adoption and approval of the bills must be placed on the next general election ballot. Specifies procedures for the drafting of bills and the filing of petitions."[2]

Right-facing-Arrow-icon.jpg Illinois House Bill 97: HB 97 would allow for the recall of local elected officials in Illinois.[3] Citizens in Charge Foundation rating: Protects/expands initiative rights.

Right-facing-Arrow-icon.jpg House Joint Resolution Const. Amendment 21: Excerpt of bill description/summary: "Provides for elections to recall State executive branch officers except for the Governor, members of the General Assembly, and elected salaried officers of units of local government."

Right-facing-Arrow-icon.jpg House Joint Resolution Const. Amendment 27: Excerpt of bill description/summary: "Provides for elections to recall State executive branch officers and members of the General Assembly."

Right-facing-Arrow-icon.jpg House Joint Resolution Const. Amendment 28: Excerpt of bill description/summary: " Provides for elections to recall State executive branch officers and members of the General Assembly. Changes the signature requirements for affidavits and petitions for recall of the Governor."


2010

See also: Changes in 2010 to laws governing ballot measures



The following bills were introduced in the Illinois General Assembly:

Defeatedd HJRCA 1: A constitutional amendment that would grant the citizens of Illinois the right to recall all members of the executive branch of Illinois Government and the Illinois General Assembly. The amendment died in committee without a floor vote in either house of the General Assembly[1].

Defeatedd HJRCA 10: A constitutional amendment that would be contingent upon granting recall rights would require successive elections to replace recalled officials. The amendment died in committee without a floor vote in either house of the General Assembly[2].

Defeatedd HJRCA 20: A constitutional amendment that would guarantee that the recall provisions if approved in Illinois would be upheld by a court in the event of a legal challenge. The amendment died in committee without a floor vote in either house of the General Assembly[3].

Defeatedd HJRCA 33: A constitutional amendment that would be contingent upon granting recall rights that would allow citizens to initiate recall petitions. The amendment died in committee without a floor vote in either house of the General Assembly[4].

Defeatedd HJRCA 41: A constitutional amendment that would be contingent upon granting recall rights that would grant specific powers to the Illinois State Board of Elections in setting elections and having authority to determine the legality of recall petitions. The amendment died in committee without a floor vote in either house of the General Assembly[5].

Defeatedd HJRCA 53: A constitutional amendment that would be contingent upon granting recall rights that would grant specific powers to the Illinois State Board of Elections in administering the recall process. The amendment died in committee without a floor vote in either house of the General Assembly[6].

Defeatedd SJRCA 9: A constitutional amendment that would allow judges to be recalled in addition to executive branch officials and members of the General Assembly. The amendment died in committee without a floor vote in either house of the General Assembly[7].

Defeatedd SJRCA 13: A Senate version of HJRCA 53 that would grant specific powers to the Illinois State Board of Elections in administering the recall process. The amendment died in committee without a floor vote in either house of the General Assembly[8].

Defeatedd SJRCA 15: A constitutional amendment that would expand the recall process to local elected officials making $21,000 or more in salary. The amendment died in committee without a floor vote in either house of the General Assembly[9].

Defeatedd SJRCA 17: A constitutional amendment that would guarantee the recall process if approved in Illinois would be upheld by a court in the event of a legal challenge. at would expand the recall process to local elected officials making $21,000 or more in salary. The amendment died in committee without a floor vote in either house of the General Assembly[10].

Defeatedd SJRCA 40: A constitutional amendment that would implement a full initiative and referendum process in the State of Illinois. The amendment died in committee without a floor vote in either house of the General Assembly[11].