Illinois State Board of Elections
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Tuesday marks the official beginning of campaign season in Illinois — the day potential candidates can start circulating petitions to get their names on the ballot.

In Illinois, people can’t really be political candidates until they collect enough signatures — anywhere from hundreds to thousands, depending on the office. State election law dictates when that process can begin; this year it’s Sept. 3.

Murphysboro Republican Rep. Mike Bost’s rant went viral on YouTube and made Late Night with David Letterman.
WUIS/Illinois Issues

Willie Sutton reputedly said he robbed banks because that’s where the money was.

That kind of stark mathematical logic also could explain why Illinois’ political system has, more than ever it seems, turned its back on that oddly defined region we call “Downstate” to focus almost exclusively on “Chicagoland.”

As Sutton might say, with painful obviousness, it’s because that’s where the money is. And the votes.

Dana Heupel
NPR Illinois


Did you ever walk into a gathering — at a restaurant, maybe, or a party or a nightclub — where nobody there looked like you? Maybe their skin was a different hue. Maybe they were of the opposite gender. Perhaps they were much younger — or older.

Chances are, you became uncomfortable. You might even have left.

But if at least some faces in the crowd looked like yours, chances are you walked right in. And if they were participating in a mutual activity, you probably joined in.