Huge Chunks of CHANGE.
Lobbying isn’t slimy when it’s for the good of our generation. We draft, lobby, and pass real legislation that impacts the lives of young people across Chicago and Illinois: fair & accessible elections, economic justice, and education.
Feast your eyes on the real, big wins Chicago Votes has helped bring to the peeps of our communities (like online voter registration, grace period voting, and same day voter registration).
Since we love democracy, our agenda is set by the people who do the work – young volunteers, leaders, and supporters across the city. Here’s what we’re all about these days:
AUTOMATIC VOTER REGISTRATION:
We should have a voting system that ensures all eligible votes – whether cast by Democrat, Republican, or independent – are counted. Automatic Voter Registration is a process states are adopting to update our current paper-based system with a new electronic system that creates a secure database to automatically identify and register all eligible Americans to vote. The secure database actively updates voter registration information when people apply for or renew their driver’s license or when they change their address. This bill has passed through both houses, we are waiting for the Governor to sign this into law within the next month! The day this bill becomes law an additional 2 million Illinois voters will be added to the rolls.
PASSED SAME DAY VOTER REGISTRATION
Chicago Votes along with several other coalition partners, won Same Day Voter Registration (SB172)! Each Election Day, thousands of potential voters are turned away because they have not yet registered to vote. Same Day Voter Registration allows eligible Illinois residents to register and vote at the same time on Election Day. We fought for and won Same Day Voter Registration because we believe every voter who wants to join in the democratic process should be able to–and that arbitrary registration deadlines shouldn’t bar people from participating.
PASSED ONLINE VOTER REGISTRATION IN ILLINOIS
Two things we’re guessing you’re a fan of: Democracy and the internet. Combined, they’re even better. Letting people register to vote online is a no-brainier which is why we helped to pass online voter registration (HB 2148)! Let’s be real, we should not be using that much paper any way.
PASSED GRACE PERIOD/EARLY VOTING THROUGH ELECTION DAY
Hate long lines? Us too. Chicago Votes helped to pass Early Voting (SB 172), giving voters extra time to hit the polls. If voters missed the voter reg deadline, they can now register and vote during Grace Period Voting. Hey young people, we thought of you; we expanded polling locations to Universities!
VOTER EMPOWERMENT PLEDGE:
In 2015, after the General Assembly passed our historical election reforms we thought more should be done to lower voting barriers, modernize elections, and encourage participation in our democracy. We asked voters to sign a voter empowerment pledge:
12 More Days of Online Voter Registration: It’s like the 12 days of x-mas but for democracy. SB 1265 extends the time that Online Voter Registration (OVR) is available.
Ballots that speak to everyone: Making sure ballots are translated so everyone can understand the choices they are making at the polls. HB 1452 provides more access to translated ballots. Federal law requires certain jurisdictions to provide translated election materials. This bill requires more towns and cities to provide translated materials if they have a large population of limited English proficiency voters. Language assistance leads to increased registration and turnout.
Allowing 16 and 17 year olds to pre-register to vote: Getting folks registered and engaged early is key to long term civic health in our state. HB 3368 allows 16- and 17-year-old’s to pre-register to vote. Pre-registered young people stay registered longer and vote at higher rates. HB 3145 expands “Suffrage at 17” to consolidated primaries.
VOTER REGISTRATION DRIVES & PLEDGE TO VOTE CARDS:
WE HAVE REGISTERED 25,000+ YOUNG PEOPLE… and that number continues to sky rocket after each program. During GOTV, we ask millennials to “Pledge To Vote” promising they will turn out on Election Day. We have had 15,000+ conversations with youth that resulted in a pledge to have their voices heard by turning out on Election Day. Yes, Chicago Votes organizers know how to hustle in the field.
ISSUE BASED WORK:
Most workers’ wages haven’t increased with the rising cost of living, especially in super expensive cities like Chicago. We need to ensure that workers are paid fairly for their work, so that they and their families don’t have to struggle to pay their bills. Thus, we are all about that fight for $15.
ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE SCHOOL BOARD
At Chicago Votes, we love democracy so much, we want to spread it everywhere. That’s why we think the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education members should be elected. Unlike every other school district in the state, school board members in Chicago are appointed by the mayor, instead of elected by the public. We believe the selection of a position as important as a seat on the school board should be elected directly by the public, so they’re accountable to us when making decisions about school funding, construction, closings and openings, class size and more.
STOP Act Ordinance
We believe data transparency is essential for police accountability. The STOP Act requires CPD to collect and share publicly data on the location, reason, result, and demographic information for all individuals stopped and or/frisked. As of January 1st 2016, this ordinance has reduced stop and frisk by 80% in our city. Check out our press conference below: