Election Transparency Initiative Sponsored by State Representatives Olsen and Breen Signed into Law

Legislation that improves voter access to ballot referendum information was signed into law last week by Governor Bruce Rauner. The bill’s Chief Sponsor, State Representative David S. Olsen (R-Downers Grove), and Chief Co-Sponsor, State Representative Peter Breen (R-Lombard) both hailed the bill’s signing as a solid step toward improved transparency in the voting process.

According to Olsen, HB 512 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 2016 the results of four successful referenda were challenged because in each instance the official publishing of the question occurred three days prior to the state-required posting period,” said Olsen. “Expanding that window for posting ballot questions allows voters more time to learn about the proposals that will be put before them at the ballot box, and provides taxing bodies with a more flexible timeframe in meeting posting requirements.”

HB 512 amends 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. “Providing greater notice to voters improves the process and the ability for voters to become better informed about ballot initiatives that could impact their tax bills,” said Breen. “Especially as more and more people are taking advantage of early voting, expanding that window for posting information will be very helpful.”

Prior to being sent to the Governor for final action, HB 512 received unanimous support in the House and Senate. The bill is now listed in the Illinois Statutes as Public Act 100-0298.

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