Risinger sponsored bill moves elections

Staff Writer
Woodford Times

 Cutting the cost of elections, giving elected officials more time to do their jobs and encouraging better voter turnout are the aims of a new law sponsored by State Sen. Dale Risinger (R-Peoria).

Signed by Gov. Pat Quinn March 17 in his capitol office, Senate Bill 355 moves Illinois’ primary election from the first Tuesday in February to the third Thursday in March, in even-numbered years.

“Between the time a candidate files nominating petitions with the State Board of Elections and the actual election in November, our state’s election cycle has become pretty much year-round. And it is pretty clear that the early primary election was a factor in low voter turnout this year,” Risinger said. “Moving the primary closer to the general election would save time and money, and encourage better voter turnout. In fact, I introduced legislation in 2009 that would move the primary to June. I still prefer June, but agreed to sponsor Senate Bill 355 because the third Thursday in March is much better than the first Tuesday in February.”

Risinger said the new law will give lawmakers and other officials who are elected every two years more time to concentrate on doing their jobs.

“Right now, if you are elected every two years, like members of the Illinois House of Representatives, you seem to spend all of your time getting your documents ready to run for election, or campaigning for office,” Risinger said. “Even moving the primary from February to March will help give elected officials more time to be lawmakers or county board members or judges instead of candidates.”