Illinois, along with 35 other states, will elect a governor in November. While election day is still months away, the primary election is set for March 20 and there are many things voters should know before hitting the polls.
Who’s running for governor?
There are eight candidates — two Republican and six Democrat — running for Illinois governor. Incumbent Bruce Rauner will compete with Jeanne Ives for the Republican nomination. Daniel Biss, Chris Kennedy, J.B. Pritzker, Bob Daiber, Tio Hardiman and Robert Marshall all hope to become the Democratic nominee.
What do the candidates’ platforms look like?
Rauner advocates for criminal justice reform and the value of taxpayers in Illinois politics and fully-funded education, according to his website. Rauner has faced backlash from fellow Republicans for expanding taxpayer funding of abortions in October.
Ives, currently a member of the Illinois House of Representatives, wrote an article in The Federalist criticizing Rauner for signing the previously mentioned bill. Ives initiated a House bill which requires networks to have healthcare facilities and doctors near policyholders’ residences, which was signed into law Sept. 15. Most recently, Ives has been criticized for a campaign advertisement against Rauner which has been called racist, sexist and homophobic.
Biss, who has served in both the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives after his career as a professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago, vows to “take our state back from money and the machine,” according to his website. He supports the legalization of marijuana and tuition-free public education in Illinois. Biss visited the Heartland Cafe near Loyola’s Lake Shore Campus Feb. 3 in hopes of gaining support from Rogers Park residents.
Kennedy is a member of the Illinois Board of Trustees and son of former New York Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. He aims to expand healthcare while decreasing the cost for everyone, according to his website. Kennedy also advocates for disability rights, sustainability and a progressive income tax.
Pritzker, a co-founder of the Pritzker Group and a private business owner in Chicago, supports rights for immigrant families, protection of the environment and criminal justice reform, according to his campaign website.
Recently, Pritzker has been under fire for racist remarks targeted at Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White during a wiretapped phone call with former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich, who’s now in prison for public corruption.
Daiber supports fully-funded education and aims to develop a manageable budget through establishing a graduated tax scale. His website said he also supports a progressive income tax.
Hardiman, an adjunct professor at Governor State University and North Park University, was formerly the director of CeaseFire Illinois, an anti-violence organization. Hardiman was a gubernatorial candidate in 2014. Hardiman’s website said he supports prison reform and budget discipline in order to reduce deficits.
Marshall is a Vietnam War veteran who said in an interview with the Chicago Sun-Times his main priority is opposing a graduated income tax. Marshall also said he would dissolve the state of Illinois and implement three smaller states in order to solve financial problems in the state.
What happens before Election Day?
Before the official governor is elected Nov. 6, candidates must go through a primary election. Anyone wishing to run for governor must have filed for candidacy by Dec. 4. The primary election, which takes place March 20, will result in one Democratic and one Republican candidate who will compete for his or her respective party’s nomination for governor. The nominees will then compete head-to-head in the general election in November. This year, no one from a third party or independent party has confirmed a candidacy. After the election, the governor-elect will be sworn into office January 2019 and will serve until the next gubernatorial election in 2022.
How does a primary election work?
In Illinois, an open primary election system is used, which means voters don’t have to register with a party to vote. However, they do have to choose the party’s ballot they will vote with during the primary. This decision is accessible on public records.
A closed primary, used in 14 states including Florida, Oregon and New York, require voters to register with a party and vote on that party’s ballot.
Although a series of stricter voter identification laws were put intoeffect Feb. 1 in many states, Illinois generally doesn’t require identification before voting, unless first-time voters didn’t provide valid identification during registration.
Illinois residents are eligible to vote and can register online, by mail or in person at the county election authority.
In Illinois, all poll locations are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Polling locations vary according to the resident’s precinct and are printed in widely-circulated newspapers. Polling locations are also available online at www.elections.il.gov.