Table of Contents

Congressional Candidate Interviews

13th Congressional District

The 13th congressional district in Illinois includes all or parts of Champaign-Urbana, Decatur, Springfield, and Bloomington-Normal and the suburbs of East St. Louis.

Republican Rodney Davis has represented the district in the House since 2012, and he narrowly won reelection to the seat two years ago in a close race with Democratic challenger Betsy Dirksen Londrigan. This year the two face off again in what is shaping up to be a close race.

15th Congressional District

Illinois’ 15th congressional district is massive – larger, even, than the state of Maryland. It stretches north to Rantoul, south to the Kentucky border, and west to the east St. Louis suburbs.

This year, the district’s representative, John Shimkus (R) is retiring, and Republican Mary Miller and Democrat Erika Weaver are vying to replace him.

 

Voting In Illinois FAQ

Play Video
Play Video
Introduction:
 

Hi.  I’m Sangamon County Clerk Don Gray and I am here to answer any questions you may have about voter registration, how to cast your ballot, and how secure vote-by-mail is.

Q: How do I register to vote in person and what’s the deadline?

A:  To register and vote in person, here’s what you do.  You would go visit your local election authority.  It’s most commonly your county clerk. You just show up and a staff will help you.  You need two forms of ID and one with a current address. To register to vote in person in Illinois, the deadline is October 6.  So don’t waste any time.

Q:  Do I need to have a photo ID to register to vote?

A:  You don’t have to have a photo ID to register to vote.  We accept all kinds of forms of various identification to prove who you are.  As long as they have your name and your address on them, we can accept it.  We most commonly see driver’s licenses, social security cards, utility bills and checkbooks.  All of those would be great ways to prove to the authority you identification. 

Q:  I want to register to vote online.  How do I do that?

A:  If you want to register to vote online, you’re going to go to your county clerk’s website.   They’ll have a link on there that will allow you to be able to fill out categories of information to register to vote.  It’s maintained by the state of Illinois, so you can also go to their website as well and use their online system. 

Q;  What is the deadline to register to vote online?

A;  You get a little bit more time to register to vote online.  That deadline is October 18th.

Q:  How do I register to vote by mail?

A:  If you are looking to register to vote by mail, you can call your local election authority and request them to send you a paper document of registration or you could download that document from their website.  Go to their website or give them a call and they will get you that document for you to fill out and return to your local authority to get registered to vote.

 

Q:  What’ s the deadline to register to vote by mail?

A:  October 6.

Q:  Can I register to vote and vote on the same day?

A;  Yes. Jurisdictions that have a larger than 100,00 plus population, will provide for that registration opportunity in every polling place.  Smaller jurisdictions will also provide for the opportunity but it will more commonly be conducted at their county clerk’s office. 

Q:  What are the ways in which I can cast my ballot?

A: You have various different ways in which you can cast a ballot. You can vote by mail. You can cast a ballot during early voting which start September 24 or you can go cast a ballot in your neighborhood polling place on November 3.

Q:  I want to cast my ballot by mail. Is it safe?
A:  Casting your ballot by mail is very safe and secure.  Illinois has been a no-excuse state of conducting vote by mail for a long time.  So we have had lots of experience in the vote by mail process.

Q:  How do I know my mail-in ballot has been received and counted?

A:  Know the status of your ballot is very important to the election authority.  You can call the County Clerk’s Office and ask them about the status of your ballot.  We cam look it up and let you know that we’ve received it.  Other jurisdictions are also providing online resources to track your ballot by going to their website, clicking on a link to allow you to track your ballot with a few pieces of identifying information.  This will give you more confidence that we have received your ballot, it’s validated and ready to be counted.

Mail-In Ballots Video with Champaign County Clerk
 
Introduction:
 
My name is Aaron Ammons. I am the Champaign County Clerk. And I’m here to talk to you
about the safest way to vote. The safest way to vote during this pandemic is to vote by mail. It is safe, secure and convenient. Soldiers have been voting by mail since the Civil War and millions of Americans have voted by mail.
 
Question: What is the best source of truthful information about the upcoming election no matter where I live in Illinois?

Answer:
The best source of accurate information about elections is always going to be your election authority. I am the election authority in Champaign County. But in other counties look for your county clerk or an election commission. If you want supplemental information, you should look to the state board of elections.
 
Question: I want to apply for a mail-in ballot, how do I do that in Illinois?
 
Answer: So there’s a couple of different ways to apply for a mail-in ballot. You should receive an application in the mail if you voted in one of the last three elections. And once you fill out that application and send it back, that is one way for you to apply. And
you can also apply online here in Champaign County at Champaign County Clerk dot com. I can’t speak for other clerks they may not have a website but for you can also apply online if you want to get a mail-in ballot.
 
Question: What’s the last day I can apply for a mail-in ballot and still get it in time?
 
Answer: According to the statute, the last day to apply on-line for a mail-in ballot is October 29. However, we strongly encourage you to make that date October 21st. This gives you plenty of time to fill-out your application. It gives us enough time to mail you your ballot. And it gives you enough time to mail your ballot back before the deadline of November 3rd.
 
Question: When does my mail-in ballot have to be received in your office to be counted?
 
Answer: Your ballot has to be postmarked by November 3rd or sooner and it has to be in my office November 17 in order to be counted for this election.
 
Question: When will the Champaign County Clerk’s office send me my mail-in ballot?
 
Answer: We will begin mailing ballots on September 24th. Anything that you have received prior to that is an application.
 
Question: If I don’t want to mail my mail-in ballot, what’s another way I can get it to you?
 
Answer: Another way that you can get your mail-in ballot to us is to use one of the seven conveniently located drop boxes throughout Champaign-Urbana. They will be cemented to the ground or bolted into a slab of cement in those seven locations and you will be able to access those boxes 24 hours a day. They’re in high traffic, high visible areas and most of them will be under 24 hour surveillance. We’re also doing something in outlying areas that are considered mobile dropbox units from 1 to 3 pm every Saturday in the month of October. So individuals who live out in those outlying areas will also have access to a mobile drop box.
 
Question: I’ve got my mail-in ballot, but I’ve decided I want to vote in person on election
day. Can I do that?
 
Answer: Absolutely. You can vote in person even though you have received your mail-in ballot. No one obligated to vote by mail. It is a choice. So if you receive your mail-in ballot and you decide that you want to vote in person, just simply bring the ballot with you. Surrender your ballot to one of the election judges and they will allow you to vote your entire ballot in person.
 

Question: Once I’ve mailed my mail-in ballot, am I done? I can’t change my mind?

Answer: Once you have mailed in your ballot, it is a done deal. You will not be able to retract or change any votes after you have mailed in your ballot.

You need to register first. Only registered voters can vote.

  • You are a U.S. citizen (native-born or naturalized)
  • You are at least 18 years old by November 3, 2020
  • Since October 5, 2020, you have lived at the address you listed when you registered to vote
  • You can vote if you have been convicted of a crime, are not incarcerated now and meet the above requirements. If you are in a county jail and have not been sentenced, you can vote by mail.

September 24, 2020 is the first day of early voting. 

On-line:

Before 11:59pm on 10/18, go here. You’ll need these four things:

  • Your valid Illinois driver’s license or Illinois state ID number
  • The last four digits of your social security number
  • The date your IL driver’s license or state ID was issued
  • Your birth date

In Person:

  • At your local election authority’s office or at voter registration drives authorized by your election authority. Contact your election authority by going to the Illinois State Board of Elections website
  • Once you are there, select your county or your city (if you live in Chicago, Danville, Galesburg, Bloomington, East St. Louis, or Rockford) to see your election authority’s name, address, phone number and website (if they have a website). To find the name of your county, in a search engine type the name of your city and state and “is in which county?” For example, “Decatur, Illinois is in which county?” 
  • Drivers’ License facilities but only if you are updating or applying for a state ID or driver’s license. To find your nearest drivers’ license facility, go to the Illinois Secretary of State’s official website and type in your zip code. The secretary of state, by the way, is elected by voters.
  • Deputy registrars. Deputy registrars are registered voters who are trained by their election authority to register voters. Deputy registrars may come to your home or school, for example, and may be at public events.


By Mail:

Print your voter registration form from this site.

For identification purposes, you will be asked to provide.

  • Your valid Illinois driver’s license or Illinois state ID number or the last four digits of your social security number

If you do not provide this required information when you mail in your form, you will be required to provide to election officials these documents the first time you vote in person or prior to voting by mail.

Online voter registration closes October 18, 2020 at 11:59pm (16 days before election day).

Yes, just not on-line. You will need to print your application from the on-line site and mail it in. You may obtain a manual voter registration form here

  • You can also register to vote and vote in-person during what’s called “Grace Period Voting.” You can register to vote in-person during Grace Period Voting but you must vote in-person immediately after registering.

Other forms of identification you can use to register to vote in Illinois:

  • A copy of a current and valid ID such as an Illinois hunting or fishing license, your Illinois school ID (high school, college or university as long as it lists your current address), Illinois FOID card, a social security card or passport. Photos IDs are not required by law but are preferred.
  • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows your name and physical address (the address where you live)
  • A copy of your lease or rent receipt showing your name and physical address (the address where you live)
  • At your local election authority’s office or at voter registration drives authorized by your election authority. Contact your election authority by going to the Illinois State Board of Elections website. Once there, select your county or your city to see your election authority’s name, address, phone number and website. To find the name of your county, in a search engine type the name of your city and state and “is in which county?” For example, “Decatur, Illinois is in which county?” 
  • Drivers’ License facilities but only if you are updating or applying for a state ID or driver’s license. To find your nearest drivers’ license facility, go to the Illinois Secretary of State’s official website and type in your zip code.
  • Deputy registrars. Deputy registrars are registered voters who are trained by their election authority to register voters. Deputy registrars may come to your home or school, for example, and may be at public events

If you register in person, you need two forms of identification with at least one showing your current physical address (the address where you live).

Forms of identification could be a valid drivers’ license, state ID or social security card. If you do not have a drivers’ license or state ID, you may use an ID issued by a college or university accompanied by either a copy of your contract or lease for a residence or any postmarked mail delivered to your current residence address (the address where you live).

While state law does not specifically state that a voter applicant must show a photo ID, your election authority may ask for a photo ID to fully verify your identification when you register in their office. If you do not have a photo ID, you should still be able to register to vote with two other forms of ID.  Having a photo ID is preferred. 

You may register to vote and/or change your address while voting in-person at designated early voting locations in Illinois as early as September 24, 2020 and though 7pm on November 3, 2020 (election day).

To find your early voting location, contact your election authority by going to the Illinois State Board of Elections website. Once you are there, select your county or your city (if you live in Chicago, Danville, Galesburg, Bloomington, East St. Louis, or Rockford) to see your election authorities’ name, address, phone number and website (if they have a website). To find the name of your county: in a search engine type the name of your city and state and “is in which county?”  For example, “Decatur, Illinois is in which county?” 

During the grace period, you must register in person and vote during the same visit. You must present two (2) forms of identification, with one that shows the physical address where you live. Photo IDs are preferred but not specifically stated as a requirement in the law. Once you vote with a grace period ballot, the vote you cast is final and may not be revoked.

Yes. You can register and vote on election day at polling places across the state. Illinois is one of 11 states and the District of Columbia that allows this.

If you live in a county with a population of 100,000 or more, you can register to vote and vote at your home precinct on election day. Your home precinct is the polling place for your residence address that was assigned to you by your election authority when you registered to vote.  You can also register and vote in the office of your election authority.

To find your home precinct, call your election authority’s office. To find your local election authority, go to the Illinois State Board of Elections website. Once you are there, select your county or your city (if you live in Chicago, Danville, Galesburg, Bloomington, East St. Louis, or Rockford) to see your election authorities’ name, address, phone number and website (if they have a website). To find the name of your county: in a search engine type the name of your city and state and “is in which county?”  For example, “Champaign, Illinois is in which county?” 

If you live in a county with a population under 100,000, you can register to vote and vote on election day only in designated areas such as the elections office and in some counties an additional site at the population center of the county if that population center is not the county seat. Check with your election official to find your designated area if you live in a county with a population under 100,000.

Bring two kinds of identification to register to vote on election day. One of those forms of ID must include your current address. Valid forms of identification include a passport, a driver’s license, a state ID, school or work ID, bank statement, medical, utility or insurance bill, or school report card.   Photo IDs are preferred but not specifically stated as a requirement in the law.

Yes. You must re-register if you changed your name since the last time you voted.

If you have previously registered to vote elsewhere but now reside in a different jurisdiction in Illinois, you are required to re-register as if you were a new voter. Check with your election authority if you are unsure. Contact your election authority by going to the Illinois State Board of Elections website. Once you are there, select your county or your city (if you live in Chicago, Danville, Galesburg, Bloomington, East St. Louis, or Rockford) to see your election authorities’ name, address, phone number and website (if they have a website). To find the name of your county: in a search engine type the name of your city and state and “is in which county?”  For example, “Decatur, Illinois is in which county?” 

Call your local election authority.  To find your local election authority, go to the Illinois State Board of Elections website.

Once you are there, select your county or your city (if you live in Chicago, Danville, Galesburg, Bloomington, East St. Louis, and Rockford) and their contact information will be listed.

Yes. In 1992, Illinois legislators passed a law that allows people who are homeless the right to register to vote without a permanent address.  According to the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless, you are considered homeless if you are living on the street, in shelters, or doubled-up in the homes of others.

Under the law, a homeless person may register to vote if he or she has two forms of identification and a mailing address (a shelter, a friend’s home where you are staying).

Contact your election official. Your election official’s office will have a copy of your ballot available before election day. If your election official’s office has a website, you may be able to view your sample ballot on-line. If not, you can call them and ask that a sample ballot be mailed to you.

Nearly all election officials in Illinois are county clerks. To find your county clerk’s office, type “county clerk” in a search engine and then the name of your county, and add the words “Illinois” in your search. For example “county clerk Champaign county Illinois.” Once you are on the site, look for an “elections” or “voter” tab.  It is under this tab that you will find your sample ballot. 

Your county clerk, by the way, is elected by voters.  If your county clerk is not your county’s election official, find your local election authority, go to the Illinois State Board of Elections website. Once you are there, select your county or your city (if you live in Chicago, Danville, Galesburg, Bloomington, East St. Louis, or Rockford) to see your election authorities’ name, address, phone number and website (if they have a website). To find the name of your county: in a search engine type the name of your city and state and “is in which county?”  For example, “Champaign, Illinois is in which county?”

Look in your local newspaper. Some newspapers publish sample ballots.

  • Journalists/reporters in public media and commercial media provide information about local and statewide elections using journalistic standards. Look to their websites for on-demand published stories and/or watch their broadcasts, read their newspapers and magazines.

  • Nearly all candidates running for office have websites where they explain their positions, why they are running and their background. Search for them by name in a search engine to find their websites.

  • Contact candidates and email them your questions or ask to meet with them in-person.

  • Attend public candidate forums in your area.

Watch The 13th Congressional Debate

Illinois Public Media hosted a debate between 13th Congressional incumbent RODNEY DAVIS and challenger BETSY DIRKSEN LONDRIGAN on Monday, October 5th at 7pm. Watch the full debate below:

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