During the week Republican lawmakers stood in defiance of a controversial new law that will drastically change the state’s election laws in the middle of an election cycle that has already started to favor entrenched incumbents and reduce competition at the ballot box.

Senate Bill 2412, hastily filed just hours before a vote in the House and a day before a vote in the Senate, makes significant changes to the rules for an election process that is already underway. Most notably, it would end the slating process currently taking place in districts throughout the state, eliminating challengers entrenched incumbents could face in November. 

For prospective candidates who have spent more than a month gathering signatures and rearranging their lives, their family’s lives, and their jobs to run for office, it could mean the end of the road. 

Republican legislators called this a blatant power grab by Illinois Democrats afraid of competition for their incumbents in the general election. They characterized the bill as an attempt to change the rules midgame by Democrat lawmakers prioritizing control of the election process over the rights of Illinoisians to have free and fair elections. They noted that the legislation would further erode public trust in the electoral process.

Republican lawmakers in both the Illinois Senate and House stood in protest, voting “present” on the controversial measure. They contend that the rushed proposal is patently unfair and undemocratic, allowing Democrat lawmakers to undermine the election process. 

Rather than upholding the integrity of Illinois’ election process, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law just hours after telling reporters he hadn’t yet reviewed the proposal. 

Senate Republicans said the bill is a slap in the face to the concept of free elections. At a time when many voters have lost confidence in elections, the state should be giving them good reason to further lose faith in democracy. 

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