March 2021
With April 6 Consolidated Elections around the corner, we should all be making our plan to vote. Having a voice—and using that voice—is a powerful tool at the core of influencing change.

Our vote is our voice. We know this, and it drives us to the ballot box at every election. How are we to have a voice in between? 

Our representatives in government are our daily voice. These people need to hear from us. They want to hear from us.  

We need not be silent if we think they already agree with us. We need not wait until a certain piece of legislation is on the table. What we need to do is share our views all the time, give direction and urge our representatives to pursue the values we care about and hold dear. We need to let our representatives know what is most important to us.

We must be in the habit of contacting our representatives to share our big picture views. “I want the senator to know that I am committed to dismantling systemic racism in my community and I want the senator to be working toward these same goals,” “Affordable Housing is a crucial element in…," "I believe that immigrants…," "Funding for education is..."

It could not be easier. Especially if you are prepared.

Make a simple plan, so that when you have a concern or thought or a view, your voice is heard. Find those phone numbers and email addresses for your representatives in local, state and federal government.

Write them on a card and put it next to your landline, put it next to your computer. Pick up your smart phone, add them to your address book. 

Start with Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, keep going all the way through the list to your mayor or village manager.

Take all the steps. Give your views a voice, every day. 
League of Women Voters of Illinois 
Securing the Right to Vote
Currently making its way through Congress, HR1 is a vital piece of legislation that will protect the voices of voters nationwide. Follow the bill’s progress.

Known as the For the People Act, this bill aims to stop partisan gerrymandering, address campaign finance issues, and expand voting access. It would provide for automatic voter registration nationwide, require early voting, expand mail-in voting and authorize $1 billion for upgrades to state voting systems.

Polling by Data for Progress and Vote Save America shows bi-partisan public support for HR1. Among those polled:
  • 68% approve of the reforms in the bill, 16% oppose the measure
  • 74% want nonpartisan redistricting; 11% do not 
  • 68% want 15 days of early voting; 19% do not 
  • 59% want automatic voter registration; 29% do not
  • 58% percent of Americans want to be able to vote by mail; 35% do not

Meanwhile, unproven, repeated claims of voter fraud are lending energy to partisan movements to suppress voter rights. Laws being proposed in 42 states would make voting more difficult, hitting minorities and the elderly particularly hard. 

Voter suppression is backwards. The League has and always will stand firmly against voter suppression in all of its forms. It is imperative that we increase equitable access to the ballot, not decrease it.  

Democracy’s strength lies in its voters; by guaranteeing the American people’s power of choice, we will ensure our future. HR1 will help all voters have a voice. The League has supported this bill since its inception two years ago, when it was not taken up by the Senate, and applauds its rapid consideration by the 117th Congress.  

Your senators and representatives need to hear from you, no matter where they stand on this bill. Contact them today. Voice your support for national, nonpartisan protection of voting rights.
Women's History Month
What better way to commemorate Women’s History Month than by adding the Equal Rights Amendment to the constitution. 

The ERA offers protection for all genders. One hundred years in the making, this is a crucial amendment whose time has come. It has been ratified by the required 38 states and is held back only by an ambiguous and legally questionable deadline imposed when it was passed 49 years ago.

Honor Women's History Month by helping make history. Tell Congress to remove the ERA ratification deadline.

We need the ERA because our nation must close the book once and for all on the idea that equality of rights is a debatable issue. Because a constitution is not only a set of legal protections: it is a proclamation of a nation’s values.

—Deborah Turner, Board President, League of Women Voters of the United States
Vote Where You Live
Local Elections Matter
After seeing unprecedented turnout for the November 2020 election, LWVIL is urging voters to maintain that momentum and vote where they live.

Historically, voter turnout can drop to 10% or lower in many legislative districts during April consolidated elections. Shockingly, this means that 9 out of every 10 voters are allowing others to make their choices for them—choices about how their local tax dollars are spent on services that impact their daily lives, services as simple as snow and garbage removal, library hours and stop sign placements. 

LWVIL urges all voters to use their voice to its fullest and vote for their communities. Local Leagues host a large variety of candidate forums and are a good source of nonpartisan voter information. is every voter’s place to make a plan to vote. Register to vote, apply for a ballot, and find your polling place. After March 8, you will be able to view your ballot and find candidate information and forums. 
Voters can find League candidate forums on the LWVIL Events Calendar. If you miss a forum, contact your local League for access to the forum video.

Election Dates 
Check with your local election authority to determine whether your area has an election on April 6. See the full election calendar.
  • Early voting at permanent polling places starts: Mar. 22, 2021
  • Election Day: April 6, 2021

No Drop Boxes for Vote By Mail ballots
It is recommended that voters apply for their vote by mail ballots early so they have plenty of time to return them through the mail.
Illinois Election Law Changes 
Changes to election laws that were put in place for Covid protection helped drive voter turnout to record levels in November. However, many of them expired at year’s end. These temporary changes represent great strides in protecting and expanding equitable voter access and LWVIL strongly supports legislation that would make them permanent. 

LWVIL sent letters to key legislative leaders this week in support of election law changes we would like to see the Illinois General Assembly approve this spring. Among them:

  • Make Election Day a state holiday
  • Broader statewide dates and times for early voting
  • Drop boxes and collection sites for vote by mail ballots
  • Supersites for early voting and use on election day
  • Allow establishment of permanent vote by mail list  

Contact your legislators to express support for election law changes that will make it easier for you to vote your voice
Governor’s Budget Proposal 
Hearings begin this week on Governor Pritzker’s FY2022 budget proposal, which was released February 17. The legislature will now make adjustments and pass a budget by the end of May. 

The proposal does not increase income tax and is balanced through a combination of closing "corporate loopholes” (in part, eliminating tax credits and deductions for businesses) and reducing or holding steady on many line items.  

The closing of corporate loopholes is expected to bring in $932 million; as required by law, most of that money will go into the state’s underfunded pension system. Notably, the budget does not provide a path to manage the state's structural deficit and unpaid pension debt. Additional revenue sources will be needed to provide money for essential human services, especially in vulnerable communities hardest hit by the pandemic. 

Unfortunately, the proposal does not make good on a 2017 law to boost education spending by $350 million annually, dollars that would begin to correct vast community discrepancies in school funding. The march toward racial equity and access to opportunity for Illinois children through adequately-funded public education should be a higher priority than this budget proposal recognizes.

Stay current with fiscal issues in the state by joining the LWVIL Fiscal Policy Google Group. Contact
Essential Workers
COVID Stimulus Relief
The LWVUS Lobby Corps is currently lobbying the Senate with the following message: "The League believes that U.S. healthcare policy must provide for equitable distribution of health care services. Therefore, we call on the Senate to include in COVID relief legislation (1) $25 billion in appropriations for an equitable COVID-19 vaccine distribution for over 328 million U.S. residents, and (2) a strengthened eviction moratorium extended through the fall." 

The Lobby Corps is an all-volunteer group drawn from members of local Leagues in the National Capital Area. Members regularly lobby select members of Congress, playing a key role in communicating LWVUS positions. Established in 1971, the Lobby Corps is an invaluable resource for increasing League interaction on legislative priorities and influencing desired policy change. 
More than 200 attendees from across the state are poised to use their voices beyond the ballot box after LWVIL’s Issues Briefing. 

Issues Briefing 2021 was a powerhouse of information, updates and insights from experts addressing climate change, fiscal policy, affordable housing, diversity and equity, immigration, and redistricting. A central theme running through sessions was the importance of looking at all issues with an eye to correcting inequities between diverse populations. 

Nearly 90% of attendees surveyed said that, after Issues Briefing, they are more likely to contact their legislators about a specific issue. This fits well into an equation for change provided by Dr. David Ansell, Rush University Medical Center’s Chief Equity Officer, during a discussion on systemic racism: “Narrative plus data plus action equals change." Issues Briefing provided attendees with narrative, data, and resources for action.  

Anyone interested in learning more about issues specifically explored in Issues Briefing can find speaker biographies and materials on the LWVIL website. Those seeking additional discussion, information, and advocacy updates, should contact and request to join an issue-specific Google Group.  

Check Out Local Events
Our local Leagues regularly host virtual events related to both voter education and action on issues. See what's coming up on our calendar.

Follow, like and share with us on social media!
The League of Women Voters of Illinois is nonpartisan and neither supports nor opposes candidates for elected office but does work to influence public policy on specific issues after member study and consensus.

The League of Women Voters of Illinois Education Fund (LWVILEF) encourages informed and active participation in government by providing civic education and voter services. Make a difference today for you and your community with a tax-deductible gift to support our work to defend democracy and empower voters.