Dear Members:

Tomorrow night we will start to get the results of our national election. It will be the culmination of one of the largest voter turnouts in decades, one in which early voting and mail in ballots were at an all-time high. Some of this was due to the pandemic, but there can be no doubt that millions of Americans understood how much was at stake at a time when our country has never been more polarized politically. Whatever the reasons, The League of Women Voters has made a huge contribution by helping to register voters, advocating for the Fair Tax constitutional amendment, providing vital information about the election, and promoting good government. We will all stay tuned for the results.

Last Thursday evening, our Criminal Justice Update Study Committee presented the first half of our ambitious effort to make recommendations that will hopefully reform existing criminal justice positions and create new ones that are much needed. Our committee members discussed investing in communities, addressing bias in the criminal justice system, shifting to a gender responsive approach for all offenders, advocating for a state-wide and transparent data system, promoting criminal justice coordinating councils and reforming police. For those of you who were unable to attend, you can watch a recording of the meeting with this link.

We will have another meeting on Saturday, January 16, 2021, to present the remaining sections of our study in preparation for a final vote on January 30. By this date, all local leagues in the state who are participating will have voted as well. After the results are approved by the State Board, a final vote will take place at the 2021 LWV IL Convention in June. If all goes as we anticipate, we will be able to support any bills that result from Governor Pritzker’s recent plan to reform and modernize the state’s criminal justice system.

We will all be together in spirit as the returns come in tomorrow after the polls close. To quote Bette Davis in All about Eve, “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”

Beverly Graham