Voter registration opens for Evanston’s participatory budgeting pilot


Daily file illustration by Lily Ogburn

PB Evanston invites community members to develop proposals for their ideas and then allows the community to vote on how the money is spent, according to the program website.

Casey He, Assistant City Editor

Evanston community members can now register to vote in the city’s participatory budgeting pilot program.

In 2021, the city allocated $3 million from American Rescue Plan Act funds to the participatory budgeting pilot program in collaboration with Northwestern. Through the program, community members can decide where the money will go.

Anyone 14 or older who lives, works, studies or owns a business in the city is eligible to vote on the pilot, according to a Tuesday city news release. The election will take place between Sept. 1 and Sept. 30, and those who registered can vote in-person or online.

Between November and February, community members submitted more than 1,200 budget ideas to the city. Volunteer Budget delegates are currently working with city staff to select ideas and develop them into proposals for the September ballot. The city will fund the top-voted proposal and will continue down the list until the allocated money runs out.

In a February interview with The Daily, Evanston’s Participatory Budgeting Manager Matthew Ouren said he hopes the pilot program will run smoothly and get a high level of public participation. 

“One of my hopes is that we can execute this process and the funds can be allocated by community members in a way that is transparent and helps develop trust in the community,” Ouren said. 

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