Democracy

Call your representative and senators every day. Here's how.

By | Andre Delattre
Executive Director, U.S. PIRG

There’s a lot unfolding in Washington, D.C., right now, and you may be wondering: “What can I do to voice my concerns?”

Result | Democracy

Election Modernization Bill Passed

In 2015, Illinois PIRG worked to modernize Illinois’ voter registration and elections process, to make sure every eligible voter can participate in the democratic process. The year started with then-Gov. Pat Quinn signing Senate Bill 172, a sweeping elections modernization bill that will allow election day registration, expand early voting, and save taxpayers money by making voter registration at state agencies entirely electronic. Following that victory, Illinois PIRG took on a leadership role in the Just Democracy Coalition, expanding it beyond its initial five members into a more powerful and engaged coalition.

 

Chicago's mayoral candidates ran to represent all of the city's 2.7 million people. It would be good if their donors represented at least a cross-section of the people, too. But they didn't.

News Release | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Campaign Finance Analysis: Small Donors a Small Factor in Chicago Mayoral Race

Analysis of Mayoral campaign finance reports through one week before Election Day shows that less than 1 percent of money raised has come from donors giving less than $150, while 97 percent has come from donors giving $1,000 or more. 

Report | Illinois PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Small Donors A Small Factor In Chicago Mayoral Race

As we approach ten years since Citizens United v. FEC, the growing dominance of a small group of big donors in Illinois elections is undeniable. From City Council to Governor, political campaigns are increasingly fueled by a small number of donors who make contributions far larger than average voters can afford. Increasingly, to run a competitive race, a candidate cannot rely primarily on small donors, but instead needs to draw on the small number of large donors who can afford to make big contributions, from their personal wealth, or from the war chests of established political players. As the presence of big money in politics grows, the voices of small donors are increasingly stifled.

Some Good News for Illinois

By | Abe Scarr
State Director

At a time when it seems like Springfield can't agree on anything, automatic voter registration has won bipartisan support.

News Release | Democracy

Our Statement Regarding the President’s “Commission on Election Integrity”

Read Illinois PIRG's statement on the President's establishment of an "Advisory Commission on Election Integrity."

News Release | Democracy

Illinois Senate Takes Bipartisan Step to Lessen Influence of Big Money in Elections

The Illinois Senate voted 31-23 in a bipartisan vote to lessen the influence of big money in Illinois elections by passing Senate Bill 1424. The legislation, sponsored by Senator Biss and championed by good government groups Fair Elections Illinois, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform, and Illinois Public Interest Research Group, would create a small donor matching system, wherein candidates would be eligible to receive public matching funds for small contributions by voluntarily agreeing to forgo big money and corporate contributions. A similar system has existed in New York City for decades and has been adopted by other jurisdictions in recent years.

Issue | Democracy

Modernize the Vote

Registering to vote should be modern, accurate, and automatic. 

News Release | Illinois PIRG | Democracy

Legislation will Raise the Voices of Ordinary Citizens in our Democracy

I applaud Senator Biss for introducing critical legislation to raise the voices of ordinary citizens in our democracy.

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