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If there is an issue that you think should become a law, you don’t have to wait until your state legislature agrees with you. You can let the voters decide by filing a ballot initiative. Your direct action can qualify your measure to be on the ballot in the next statewide election.

Last updated on: December 9, 2020

The following is a brief overview of the initiative process in the state of Illinois. For a more detailed description, refer to Article XIV in the Illinois Constitution.

Initiatives Allowed at the State Level

According to Article XIV of the Illinois Constitution, the state of Illinois only allows for constitutional amendments.  In other words, they do not allow for statutory initiatives.

State-Level Requirements

Most importantly, Article XIV also lays out your rights and rules for the initiative process. 

You will need to get the number of signatures equal to 8% of the votes for governor in the previous election. 

The topics of the initiative are limited to the structural and procedural subjects in Article IV of the state constitution. 

Additionally, you will need signatures by voters within 2 years of the upcoming election. Finally, you must file no later than 6 months prior to the upcoming election.

Local Initiatives in Illinois

In the Illinois Constitution, Article VII, Section 6 establishes home rule within the state. That is to say, it is up to the individual counties to establish rules regarding local initiatives. For more information on the rules in your county, check with your local government.