election 2016

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth participated in their first televised presidential debate this week. Kirk made a comment about his opponent's ethnic heritage for which he later felt compelled to apologize. We'll ask Charlie Wheeler why voters should care about the special election for Illinois comptroller. And Sen. Dick Durbin might mean it when he says he isn't interested in taking on Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2018.

Kirk and Duckworth arriving at the Illinois State Fair
Amanda Vinicky (Kirk); Brian Mackey (Duckworth) / NPR Illinois

Illinois voters aren't getting many chances to see their candidates for U.S. Senate face off. Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth and the incumbent -- Republican Mark Kirk -- met Thursday in Springfield. It was the first of only two televised debates, and their only downstate match-up.

flickr/ DonkeyHotey

The presidential race is capturing most voters' attention. But here in Illinois, there's record-breaking spending going into races for the General Assembly. Hanging in the balance is the state of Illinois, or at least its budget, anyway.

Amanda Vinicky

With Illinois finances stretched thin, the role of Illinois Comptroller has taken on an elevated importance. There haven't been many chances for voters to compare the candidates vying for the job face-to-face, but the top candidates squared off Tuesday night in an interview on Chicago's WTTW-TV.

The comptroller is in charge of cutting the state's checks.

That's more complicated than it may sound. After all, Illinois doesn't have enough money to actually PAY all of its bills.

Kirk and Duckworth arriving at the Illinois State Fair
Amanda Vinicky (Kirk); Brian Mackey (Duckworth) / NPR Illinois

Our two-part series looks at where Sen. Mark Kirk and U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth are on a few key issues, and why the politics of 2016 mean those policy positions may not have much effect on the outcome.

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois makes it tough for new party and independent candidates to run for office, especially when compared with the petition rules for Democratic and Republican candidates, but even a leading established party politician says the requirements are too tough.

After receiving inquiries the Illinois State Board of Elections has issued an alert to assure voters of the integrity of the upcoming election.

It comes as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump continues to claim that the election is "rigged." In Wednesday night's debate, Trump was cagey about whether he'll accept the outcome on November 8.

The board's assistant director Jim Tenuto says tampering with electronic voting machines or coordinating a statewide effort to cheat would be difficult, given that elections are locally-managed.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Donald Trump's talk of "rigged" elections prompts Illinois and Chicago officials to say widespread voter fraud is a thing of the past. Meanwhile, a Chicago Democratic operative feels the burn of a conservative undercover activist. And could there be unintended consequences for state parks if Illinois voters approve the so-called transportation lockbox?

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

A pair of state legislators say this election season has exposed an ethics loophole that Illinois needs to close, but there are suspicions the introduction of the measure in the midst of a heated campaign season is itself a political gesture.

It's illegal for a director of a state agency, or any public employee for that matter, to use government resources for political purposes, but Illinois has no restrictions prohibiting agency directors from being identified by their title in campaign ads.

Capitol in fog
Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois

A pair of state legislators say this election season has exposed an ethics loophole that Illinois needs to close, but there are suspicions the introduction of the measure in the midst of a heated campaign season is itself a political gesture.

It's illegal for a director of a state agency, or any public employee for that matter, to use government resources for political purposes, but Illinois has no restrictions prohibiting agency directors from being identified by their title in campaign ads.

University of Nevada Las Vegas

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton go head-to-head in the third and final presidential debate Wednesday night.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact check from NPR reporters and editors.

Starved Rock State Park
courtesy Brian Mackey / all rights reserved

A key source of funding for the Department of Natural Resources could be blocked. Or maybe not.

Gov. Bruce Rauner
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

He may be the state's highest-ranking Republican, but Gov. Bruce Rauner Thursday continued to be cagey about where he stands on Donald Trump.

Rauner has been asked about Trump by reporters time and time again. He usually answers something like "I'm not going to talk about politics, per se, or the Presidential election. I've made my statements clear."

But actually not all that clear.

Rauner in May said he would back his party's nominee; at the time Trump hadn't locked up the nomination, but he was close.

South fork of the Apple River in Jo Daviess County
Helping Others Maintain Environmental Standards

Economic growth. Or the environment. Pollsters at Southern Illinois University's Paul Simon Public Policy Institute put them head to head.  Read on to hear which came out on top.

Illinois lawmakers talk a lot about the importance of growing the state's economy.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois Republicans continue to struggle with their reactions to Donald Trump's bus video. Congressman Rodney Davis withdrew his endorsement while Gov. Bruce Rauner continues trying to dodge the question.

Meanwhile, the Chicago Tribune editorial board is backing Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth over Republican Sen. Mark Kirk, citing concerns about Krik's ability to do the job following his 2012 stroke. And the advocacy arm of the conservative Illinois Policy Institute has screened its movie attacking House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Davis, Wicklund Square Off In 13th District Debate

Oct 14, 2016
Mike Thomas/Illinois Public Media

Incumbent 13th District Republican Rodney Davis of Taylorville and his Democratic challenger, Mark Wicklund of Decatur, found a few areas where they had similar messages in their first debate Thursday night heard on NPR Illinois. But much of the hour was also dedicated to issues like the Affordable Care Act, and the accomplishments of Congress under the Obama administration.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner and his allies are shoveling historic piles of cash into legislative races this year. A new federal super-PAC that goes by the acronym "LIFT" is seeking to counter that, by tying Rauner to Donald Trump.

Carter Staley / NPR Illinois

Last Friday, central Illinois held its final naturalization ceremony before this year’s election.

Fifty-eight men and women entered Springfield's Old State Capitol as citizens of 30 nations. An hour later, they left as citizens of one.

Screenshot - New York Times (Stephen Crowley)

If you watched Sunday night's presidential debate on television, chances are you caught a glimpse of Illinois' senior U.S. Senator in the audience. But his title is not why cameras turned in Dick Durbin's direction.

Before the debate began, Durbin says be noticed something curious. The row of seats just in front of his was empty: "I kept thinking: Why would they have an empty front row?"

Washington University in St. Louis

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton go head-to-head again in the second presidential debate Sunday night.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact check from NPR reporters and editors.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

The Simon Poll says incumbent Sen. Mark Kirk is 14 points behind Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth. Democrats and Republicans are trying to use the other side's unpopular leaders to sink down-ballot candidates. Plus, Illinois is awash in campaign cash.

Illinois voters will be able to register and cast their ballot at the same time - on election day, Nov. 8th. The U.S. Court of Appeals handed down a ruling Friday that puts an end to a series of back-and-forth court orders issued in recent weeks.

Illinois first permitted voters to register on election day two years ago. But it only had to be available at one location in a jurisdiction.

In places it was so popular, there were huge lines.

A law set to take effect for this general election sought to curb that problem.

Rauner-Madigan-Cullerton approval poll
Fall 2016 Simon Poll / Paul Simon Public Policy Institute

We’re just over a month away from the election of 2016. It’s a season of campaign advertising, speeches, debates, and of course polling.

Every election cycle, Illinois voters are asked their opinions on a range of issues by the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at SIU Carbondale.

This year, they weighed in on elections for president and U.S. Senate, the popularity state government leaders, and whether Illinois ought to amend its constitution to lock in road-building money.

Longwood University

Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Mike Pence square off in the vice-presidential debate Tuesday night.

NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact check from NPR reporters and editors.

NPR Illinois State Week logo (Capitol dome)
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

A federal judge has put limits on election-day voter registration in the most populous parts of Illinois. The governor's office has a rosier view of the Illinois deficit then legislative analysts. And Donald Trump once again shines a light on violence and policing in Chicago.

Trump by Michael Vadon/Flickr / Rauner by Brian Mackey/WUIS

The man who calls himself the leader of Illinois' Republican Party conti ues to refuse to weigh in on this year's election.

Screens
Carter Staley / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Amanda Vinicky

Illinois voters this fall will have a chance to amend the state constitution. The governor refuses to say whether he supports the change.

Hofstra.edu

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton go head-to-head in the first presidential debate Monday night.
NPR's politics team, with help from reporters and editors who cover national security, immigration, business, foreign policy and more, is live annotating the debate. Portions of the debate with added analysis are highlighted, followed by context and fact check from NPR reporters and editors.

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Gov. Bruce Rauner stuck to his script during his Facebook Live event. He also denies that his legislative agenda is "hurting some class."

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