The Daily Explains: What to expect on your ballot this November


File Illustration by Olivia Abeyta

Evanston residents will decide if Evanston should have a ranked-choice voting system on Nov. 8.

Saul Pink, Assistant City Editor

With the 2022 general election quickly approaching, Evanston voters will soon choose their preferred candidate in the U.S. Congress and the state legislature.

Although there is no aldermanic or Evanston mayoral race this November, the ballot includes a few key statewide races and local referendums. 


This year’s Senate race pits Democratic incumbent Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) against Republican Kathy Salvi, a personal injury lawyer and former public defender.

Duckworth, a veteran of the Iraq War who was awarded a Purple Heart after losing both of her legs as a helicopter pilot, has held the seat since 2017. Duckworth’s first term was marked by her sustainability efforts and support for veteran-owned small businesses.

Salvi’s platform focuses on increasing domestic energy production, limiting government controls on the economy and “blocking the flow of drugs, human trafficking, terrorists, and other dangerous criminals” at the U.S.-Mexico border, according to her campaign website.

Illinois’ other Senate seat is not up for reelection this year. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has served the state since 1997, and his current term ends in 2027. 

House of Representatives (IL-9)

In the race to represent Illinois’ 9th congressional district, incumbent Jan Schakowsky (D) runs against Rogers Park resident Max Rice.

At a debate on Oct. 6, Schakowsky focused on voters’ rights and reproductive rights, while Rice promised to practice nonpartisan governing and expressed concern about crime in Chicago and election security. Rice, an energy consultant, is a registered Republican but said he would disown his party affiliation if he wins.


Gov. J.B. Pritzker is looking to win his second term as governor, despite a challenge from Republican candidate Darren Bailey. Bailey has been endorsed by former president Donald Trump, which some experts have said signals a rightward shift in the state’s GOP. 

At a debate Thursday night, the candidates battled over the SAFE-T Act, a criminal reform bill that will abolish cash bail in Illinois. Bailey said the act “lets violent criminals and murderers out of jail before trial,” while Pritzker claimed the bill will not increase crime in Illinois. 

State Senate (9th District)

Republican Paul Kelly challenges incumbent state Sen. Laura Fine (D-Glenview) for the 9th district seat, which includes all of Evanston. 

Fine’s campaign focuses largely on mental health. She is the chair of Illinois’ Behavioral and Mental Health Committee and helped to pass a bill in June expanding Illinois’ mental health workforce.

Kelly’s platform is centered around taxes and education. He believes taxes in Illinois are too high and says teachers are “increasingly being pressured to push a political philosophy,” according to his campaign website.

State Representative (17th District)

6th Ward residents who live west of McDaniel Avenue are part of District 17, according to Illinois’ new legislative districts drawn from the 2020 census. State Rep. Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz (D-Glenview), a lawyer and former director of the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, currently holds the seat. 

Gong-Gershowitz recently sponsored the TEAACH Act, which adds an Asian American history curriculum to public schools across the state.

She is challenged by Republican Bradley Martin, founder of the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies and a senior fellow at the Haym Solomon Center, a public policy group aimed at combating antisemitism and advocating for the First Amendment. Martin’s top issues include public safety, school choice and Illinois’ economy.

State Representative (18th District)

The rest of Evanston is part of District 18, represented by incumbent state Rep. Robyn Gabel (D-Evanston). Gabel is an advocate for the expansion of Medicaid coverage and the protection of abortion rights. Her work in the state legislature focuses largely on juvenile-related criminal justice initiatives.

Charles Hutchinson, a private attorney and president of the Wilmette-Kenilworth Chamber of Commerce, won the Republican nomination for the 18th District. Hutchinson is pushing for stronger parental involvement in public education and lower taxes. 

Board of Commissioners President

Evanston residents can also vote for the president of the Cook County Board of Commissioners, which is responsible for annually appropriating funds for county operations.

Democratic Commissioner Toni Preckwinkle looks to be reelected to a fourth term. She was the runner up in the 2019 Chicago mayoral election and is known for creating CountyCare, a managed care program for residents eligible for Medicaid, as well as starting the county’s new Department of Mental Health Services.

Preckwinkle is challenged by Republican and former Chicago alderman Bob Fioretti, as well as libertarian Thea Tsatsos.

Collective Bargaining Referendum

Voters won’t only choose between candidates this year. Illinois residents will also vote on Amendment 1, or the Workers’ Rights Amendment, which would establish the state constitutional right for employees to organize and bargain collectively through chosen representatives, according to the office of the Illinois’ Secretary of State.

If voters choose to ratify the amendment, Illinois employees would be able to negotiate wages, working conditions and hours, as well as advocate for their economic welfare and workplace safety.

Ranked-Choice Referendum

In Evanston, voters will choose whether the city should implement a ranked-choice voting system for municipal elections beginning in April 2025. If approved, the system would be used to elect the mayor, city clerk and City Council members. 

Ranked-choice voting is a system where voters rank each candidate on their ballot instead of casting a vote for a single candidate. If no candidate wins the majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first-preference votes is eliminated, and a new tally is calculated.

This process is repeated until someone has the majority of first-preference votes.

The ballot for Evanston residents has a total of 35 open positions, including races for various judicial positions, Cook County offices and seats in state government. Residents can see the entirety of their ballot by inputting their address on the Cook County Clerk’s website

Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @saullpink

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