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Ballot Questions May Reach Record Number

Updated: Tuesday, June 24 2014, 10:57 AM CDT

ILLINOIS -- Expect to see more questions on your ballot this November. Between increasing minimum wage, a millionaire's tax and even term limits for elected officials, there's a lot to cover.

Theories about why you're being asked the questions go back to increasing voter turn-out. Around 18-percent of registered voters went to the polls for the primary. It's unimpressive considering this year's race for governor is one of the most expensive in the country.

Depending on how you look at it, the possible record number of ballot questions is good, bad-- or even meaningless.

"I think it's a waste of time," Republican State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer said. 

You can group him in with the latter, but NAACP Springfield Branch President Teresa Haley is taking on a different stance.

"I believe it's important to all voters," Haley said.

Technically, they're both right. State Board of Elections Director Rupert Borgsmiller says increasing minimum wage, the millionaire tax, making the 5-percent income tax increase permanent and women's health are all advisory so regardless of the outcome, the vote wouldn't change any rules.

"These issues are just purely advisory. The majority party doesn't necessarily want to go along with these if they pass or if they don't pass," Davidsmeyer said.

He goes on to say Democrats are using these ballot questions to increase voter turnout and therefore support for Governor Pat Quinn who's being challenged by Republican Bruce Rauner. But Republicans are getting in on the ballot question game, too.

"For example-- dealing with the term limits. We already have term limits. It's called election day, and if somebody's not doing the job we have the opportunity to go out on election day and to simply vote them out," Haley said. 

With what's called "petition initiatives" the people of Illinois, including a group that backs republican Rauner, have turned in petitions with hundreds of thousands of signatures asking that questions about term limits for politicians and fair maps be put on the ballot, too. 

The state board elections determined last week that "term limits" does have enough valid signatures. With "fair maps" though--- they're in the process of validating the minimum which is just over 298-thousand.

Also, we could know as soon as tomorrow, but definitely by next Tuesday about any additional court challenges that might keep questions on term limits and fair maps off the November ballot.

One of the most expensive things you'll vote on is the state constitutional amendments-- crime victims' rights and voter discrimination. It'll cost a minimum of $4 million for the Secretary of State's office to send out the required ballots--- explaining the pros and cons of those initiatives.

Ballot Questions May Reach Record Number


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