The Illinois primary is next Tuesday, when voters will determine the Democratic and Republican candidates for the general election in November. Several of your elected officials have elections this year, and it’s important that you educate yourself on who is running and what they stand for. One of the most effective ways to advocate for young children is by voting for elected officials who value investments in early childhood and the supports children need to thrive.
We have created a list of the offices up for election in 2018, with information on the duties of those offices and how to find candidates in your district. If you do not know your legislative district or elected officials, you can find them here.
For primary elections, voters self-select whether they want to cast a Democratic primary ballot or Republican primary ballot. The Democrat and Republican with the most votes in their primary becomes the only candidate for their respective parties in the general election in November. Other political parties have their own processes for selecting candidates to be on the November general election ballot.
The regular voter registration deadline has passed, but grace period registration is open through Election Day. Grace period registration is only available in-person at authorized sites – you can find your location here. Important information, including required documentation and how and when to update your registration if your address has changed, can be found here.
At the federal level, all 18 of Illinois’ United States Representatives are up for election in 2018. In fact, U.S. Representatives only serve two-year terms, so they are up for election in every presidential and mid-term election. Our Representatives in Congress are responsible for passing federal laws and budgets. Many of the laws they pass give guidance to states on how to administer programs, such as child care and K-12 standards. Primary candidates for each Congressional district can be found on the Illinois Board of Elections website (note: only “active” candidates will be on the primary ballot).
There is a crowded field of both Democratic and Republican candidates for Governor, which will be narrowed down to one candidate for each party after the primary. As the head of the executive branch, the Governor is responsible for the implementation of all state laws and services through the various state agencies in his administration, such as the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) and the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). The Lt. Governor is second in command, often serving as a representative of the Governor and the state, and if the Governor’s seat became vacant, the Lt. Governor is first in line to fill the seat.
In the Illinois General Assembly, all 118 State Representatives and 39 State Senators (out of 59 in totals) are up for election. As the legislative branch of government, members of the House of Representatives and the Senate represent their district constituents in developing and negotiating state laws and budgets. On the Illinois Board of Elections website, there is a comprehensive list of seats up for election and primary candidates for each seat. Find out if your Senate district is one of the 39 up for election this year. If you don’t see your Senate district number, your Senator’s next election will be in 2020. You can also find the candidates for your House and Senate, if applicable, seat (note: only “active” candidates will be on the primary ballot).
Illinois voters will also vote for the state’s Attorney General this year. The Attorney General’s office is responsible for advocating on behalf of all Illinois residents’ rights, provide legal counsel to state agencies and the General Assembly, and take legal action to ensure state laws are followed.
Attorney General Candidates on 2018 Primary Ballots
The Secretary of State’s office is responsible for several important services, ranging from maintaining all legislative and executive official records to issuing vehicle and drivers licenses. There are two candidates for Secretary of State: Incumbent Jesse White (Democrat) and Jason Helland (Republican). As they are the only candidates for their party, they will automatically be the candidates on the November general election ballot.
The Comptroller is the state’s chief financial officer, and is responsible for maintaining the state’s fiscal accounts by issuing payments for service providers and managing payments into and out of the various funds held by the Treasurer. There are two major-party candidates for Comptroller in 2018: Incumbent Susana Mendoza (Democrat) and Darlene Senger (Republican). Since each is the only candidate for their party, they will automatically be the candidates on the November general election ballot. The Treasurer is Illinois’ chief investment officer, managing the investment of state and local government funds. The Treasurer’s office also leads asset-building initiatives like the Bright Start and Bright Directions College Savings Programs for families and children. There are two candidates for Treasurer: Incumbent Mike Frerichs (Democrat) and Jim Dodge (Republican). Since each is the only candidate for their party, they will automatically be the candidates on the November general election ballot.