For Blacks living in Illinois, there is much at state in the 2020 election. Illinois ranks as one of the highest in engagement among African Americans and during the midterm election for the State. Illinois voters will cast ballots for the President, Vice President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, the Illinois Legislature, and Cook County positions. In addition, local races include; Cook County State’s Attorney, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Board of Commissioners, the Illinois Supreme Court, and the Cook County Board of Review. In 2016, the number of registered voters in Illinois broke a record of 8 million.
Illinois residents that identified as black or African American made up 14.2% of the population (U.S. Census Bureau). While Illinois does not have a more significant percentage of African Americans compared to other states, we are close to the national average and send many African Americans to Congress. With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the lack of trust in the US Postal Service, many African Americans are choosing not to mail in their ballots but will cast their votes in the 2020 election in person instead to ensure they are counted. Black Americans across the county share similar concerns even as Illinois allows any voter to request a ballot by mail as a safety precaution during the pandemic.
Illinois Supreme Court
This election could see more diversity in the State Supreme Court. Currently, the court is at risk of returning to an all-white bench. Once elected, justices serve 10-year terms, and judges do not have term limits.
Illinois Referenda: The “Flat Tax”
The proposed amendment grants the State to institute higher income tax rates on those with higher income, which is how the federal government and most other states operate. The amendment in this year’s election would remove the portion referred to as the “flat tax,” which now requires all income taxes to be at the same rate. The amendment gives the State the ability to impose higher tax rates on those with higher incomes and lower income tax rates on those with middle or lower incomes.
Last summer, Illinois signed up 646,000 people under the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, covering adults below 140 percent of the poverty level. Illinois’s execution of the expansion contained a twist and required the federal government to cover 90 percent of the cost. If Trump reduces the reimbursement rate, coverage for hundreds of thousands of people could stop. Federal payments for those patients have reduced Cook County taxpayers’ subsidy for the health system from $400 million a year to $110 million this year. That reduction was possible for Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle to pass a balanced budget. This year’s election could impact hundreds of thousands who require medical coverage.
Licenses for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries
More than 700 groups submitted 4,000 applications. The State advanced 21 of these groups to the next stage of a lottery to award 75 licenses. Of the 21 applicants, only 13 are owned and controlled by people of color.
Cook County State’s Attorney and The Cook County Board of Review
Being the second-largest prosecutor’s office in the country, the vision for transforming the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office into a fairer department and rebuilding the public trust, while promoting transparency, while being proactive in making all communities safe; is at stake. Providing accurate and corrected Property tax assessments for owners to ensure a full, fair, and impartial evaluation of the property is at stake.
There is much at stake in the 2020 election; fair representation for health care concerns, property tax assessments, economic opportunity, and justice to name a few. It is important to vote and allow our voices to be heard.