Chicago Votes Monthly: Spring into action!

Another month has passed and so too has Illinois’ primary election!

Chicago Votes carried out a widespread effort to educate young folks on the ballot and mobilize them to the polls. In collaboration with three artists incarcerated in Illinois prisons, we created another impactful voter guide. Thousands of copies were directly mailed to young voters, handed out through community partners around the city, and distributed to voters inside Cook County Jail. 

Beyond voter education, we brought the community out to our voter guide launch party, Give A Sh*t Creative Collective fashion show, Saturday brunch banking, and numerous Get Out the Vote events, including Parade to the Polls. All in all, we partnered with 20 Chicago Public Schools for Parades to the Polls and Student Power Forums, fostering fun first-time voting experiences with music, chanting, and pizza provided by our partners at Pizza to the Polls! 

With the primary election season behind us, our sights are set on the Illinois legislative session and continuing to build power ahead of the November general elections. 

We’ve got plenty more updates on the work and ways for you to plug in! If you’re in a hurry, here are the highlights:

Storytelling plays a pivotal role in advocacy, serving as a powerful tool to convey messages, evoke emotions, and inspire action. Through narratives, complex issues are distilled into relatable experiences, fostering empathy and understanding among audiences. By sharing personal anecdotes, case studies, or historical accounts, advocates humanize their cause, making it more tangible and relevant to others. Whether advocating for environmental conservation, social justice, or healthcare reform, storytelling empowers individuals to amplify their voices and mobilize communities towards a common goal. 

Learn how to use your experiences to tell a story that advances your cause and changes people’s minds! This training is being facilitated by Frederique Desrosiers, Chicago Votes Policy Manager. 

When: April 25th from 6-7:30 PM

Where: Chicago Votes office (1006 S Michigan Ave., Ste. 606) 

Are you passionate about restoring voting rights to our community members in prison? On Wednesday, May 8th we’ll be heading down to Springfield for a full day of RACE Act advocacy, with transportation and lunch provided! 

The RACE ACT, SB3482, championed by Senator Collins, is legislation that ensures people serving sentences in IDOC correctional facilities have access to peer-taught civics classes within the 1st year of their sentence and restores their right to vote. Fill out the RACE Act Advocacy Day interest form!

While voter turnout for the primary elections was generally low, turnout in the jail exceeded that of the rest of the city. Early voting took place inside Cook County Jail the first two weekends in March, with 24% of people detained in the jail casting a ballot compared to 20% of the general Chicago population. 

Now through November, we will continue our ballot education sessions and voter registration in the jail. If you are interested in registering voters in the jail, become a CCJ Votes volunteer in a few steps! 

Start by completing the fully online, self-paced Cook County Jail Votes training. Once you complete the training course, you will begin receiving monthly CCJ Votes opportunities in your inbox! 

In November, Chicagoans will once again be voting in judicial retention elections, deciding which judges should keep their seats on the bench and which ones need to go! In the meantime, we are court watching to suss out bias in the courtroom. 

Interested in court watching? Get trained to become a court watcher online, at your own pace. You can also reach out to if you have any questions about the program.

Calling all Chicago creatives for C Space! On Thursday, April 25th from 6-8pm, pull up to the Chicago Votes office to work on your craft alongside other creatives and chill vibes. 

Our Give A Sh*t Creative Collective is a hub for creatives to rethink how we engage young Chicagoans in the political process. The Collective is made up of a diverse set of artists, including designers, musicians, poets, and videographers. Joining gives you access to paid opportunities, including mini grants. Join the Give A Sh*t (GAS) Creative Collective and become a member of a community of change-making artists. 

Read “Interesting,” a reflection on voter registration inside Cook County Jail by Cajsa Weber. In this piece, she reflects on the spread of voter misinformation, impactful interactions, and the responsibility we have to amplify the voices of the incarcerated. 

Sh*t Talkin’ Central is a one-stop-shop for youth perspectives, Sh*t Talks, and our newsletters. In 2024, we will be growing the platform to include trainings and other resources. Head over to Sh*t Talkin’ Central to read and share stories from young people in Chicago. If you submit a pitch and we decide to publish it, you’ll be paid $100!