Olsen Bill to Extend Timeframe for Publishing of Public Referendum Questions Approved in IL House

State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove) took steps to improve voter access to ballot initiative information on Friday, by passing a bill that increases the period of time during which taxing bodies must publish public questions that will be put before voters.

According to Olsen, Chief Sponsor of HB 512, the bill was filed in response to legal challenges that occurred last year after it was learned that four successful ballot initiatives did not meet narrow public posting requirements. “In November, there were four cases when referendum results were called into question when it was learned that in each instance the official publishing of the question occurred three days prior to the state-required posting period,” said Olsen.

HB 512 would amend the election code to provide that public questions must be published not more than 60 days (currently 40 days) and not less than 10 days (currently 30 days) before the election. “Especially with the growing popularity of early voting in Illinois, providing greater notice to voters improves the process and the ability for voters to become informed on local issues,” Olsen said. “I was pleased to see unanimous support of the bill.”

State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) served as the Chief Co-Sponsor of the bill, and said the issues that surfaced after the November election brought the need to broaden the publication calendar to light. “Clearly, adequate notice about referendum questions needs to be provided to voters, and the changes proposed in HB 512 make it easier for taxing bodies to meet publication requirements.”

HB 512 now moves to the Senate.

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