Illinois Governor Signs Election Bill Favoring Democrats Into Law, Sparking Controversy

Democrats in the Illinois House made a late addition to Senate Bill 2412 altering state election regulations. One notable change is the prohibition of political parties from appointing candidates to fill general election ballots in cases where the party didn’t nominate a candidate in the primary, a practice commonly referred to as “slating.”

The move outraged Republicans, the minority party in the Illinois Legislature. In protest, they voted “present” and walked off the House floor without debating the measure. Despite their objections, the bill swiftly passed both chambers and was signed into law by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker on May 3.

The election changes took effect immediately after Governor Pritzker signed the bill, banning the slating appointment process that was previously permitted within 75 days after the primary.

Under the new law, candidates must participate in the primary to appear on the November general election ballot. This change benefits Democrats in races where Republicans did not nominate a primary candidate.

Democrats presented the bill as an ethics reform to prevent backroom deals in candidate selection. In contrast, Republicans argued that it unfairly alters the rules mid-game and accused Democrats of attempting to manipulate the election.

Illinois Senate Republican Leader John Curran issued a statement denouncing the measure as an “abuse of power.” He accused Democrats of attempting to “politically suppress Illinoisans’ voting rights.”

“Their dictator-style tactic of stealing an election before a vote is cast is a new low for elective government in this state and undermines the core principles of American democracy,” he said.

The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the GOP criticism. However, he defended signing the bill at a press conference in Bloomington.

“It really does make sure that we don’t have backroom deals to put people on the ballot and run as a result of some small group of people in a smoke-filled room making the choice,” Mr. Pritzker told reporters.

“So I think to me, more transparency is better.”

Matt Dietrich, a spokesperson for the Illinois Board of Elections, stated in a phone interview that the board will maintain the original June 3 deadline for accepting slating filings. However, filings accepted after this date will be subject to objections based on the new law.

Following the board’s consideration of objections, it will decide whether to certify the candidates for the ballot. Mr. Dietrich mentioned that the board expects the losing party in these decisions to pursue legal action in court.

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By Hunter Fielding
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