Illinois voters to consider five referendum questions in Midterm elections

By Ali Braboy

Out of the five referendum questions in the general election for Illinois, voters have the power to change the Illinois constitution with two of the referenda. The general election on Nov. 4 will be the first time since 1970 that Illinois voters have seen more than three referendum questions on the ballot.

Gordy Hulten, Champaign County Clerk, said this is the first year he has seen so many advisory questions on the ballot.

While advisory questions have no formal effect at all on policy changes, state legislature may use the responses to gauge public opinion on the issues.

However, according to Brian Gaines, professor of political science, there is some speculation over the motivation to place these questions on the ballot.

Gaines said some people watching the ballot say the advisory questions were placed to attract likely democratic voters, by giving voters the illusion that they have power over change that comes with the votes. He said another view is that these advisory questions are on the ballot in an attempt to drive turnout in favor of democratic voters. 

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A third view is that the advisory questions are no more than “ballot clutter,” he said. He stated that people in Illinois are not used to so many ballot initiatives, and the voters might be more likely to skip sections. 

Ali can be reached at [email protected].