SPRINGFIELD – Illinois will likely spend about $4 million to mail pamphlets and buy newspaper ad space to tell voters about several efforts to change the state constitution in the November election, a state spokesman says.
Secretary of State spokesman Dave Druker told The Associated Press on Friday that his agency is required by law to produce almost 6 million pamphlets that include information about the pros and cons of each proposed constitutional amendment.
About 5.2 million pamphlets will be mailed to every Illinois household before the election, and others will be available in libraries or political offices. The law also requires Secretary of State Jesse White's office to post information in newspapers in every county before the election.
Illinois voters could see as many as four ballot measures this year. The Legislature overwhelmingly approved a voters' rights amendment and a crime victims' rights amendment, both awaiting approval from Gov. Pat Quinn. A spokesman for the Chicago Democrat said the governor supports both initiatives.
The Arlington Heights Daily Herald first reported on Friday that even though legislators approved two ballot measures, they didn't give White's office extra money for the mailing.
Outside groups also have proposed two ballot measures. A group led by Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner wants to impose two-term limits on legislators. Preliminary counts by the state Board of Elections show the campaign will likely have enough signatures to put the question to voters, but it faces a legal challenge in Cook County.
Another group that wants to change the way Illinois draws political maps faces the same lawsuit and an even tougher task. Initial counts showed that less than half of the group's signatures were valid. The campaign resubmitted signatures Friday afternoon, attempting to prove it has enough to make the ballot.
A judge could still throw out these two measures after the state spends millions of dollars to print and mail the materials, making the pamphlets somewhat irrelevant.
"That becomes another question, too. Do you go ahead and print the issue if it's being challenged in court?" Druker said.