How did Evanston vote on the rest of the ballot?

Noah Kayaian and Aryeh Lesch

Besides the presidential election, Illinois had multiple other items on the ballot from senators to state constitutional amendments. This was an important election for Illinois residents, and they came out to vote, having the highest voter turnout in years. A total of 5.94 million Illinoisans voted in this election, a seven percent increase from the 5.54 million votes cast in the 2016 election. Here are how Illinoisans voted on this year’s issues.

U.S. Senate

Democratic incumbent Richard “Dick” Durbin defeated Republican challenger Mark Curran for the open Illinois Senate seat to win his fifth term as U.S. Senator.
Durbin has served as the Democratic Whip in Senate since 2007 and is expected to maintain this role for his next six-year term. Durbin, who was the expected victor, benefitted from an endorsement from former President Barack Obama to help him solidify a victory over Curran. Durbin received 52.2 percent of the votes.
Durbin, who is an opponent of the Green New Deal, vowed to work to protect the nation’s natural resources and crops from climate change. On top of this, Durbin hopes to eliminate American citizen’s college debt.
Durbin will continue serving alongside fellow Democrat Tammy Duckworth.

U.S. Representative, 9th District

Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky maintained her status as a representative of Illinois’ 9th Congressional District. Schakowsky beat republican challenger Sargis Sangari, a Skokie native.
Schakowsky, serving in her 12th term as a U.S. Representative, boasts an impressive resume—including work supporting healthcare and climate change proposals—during her 21 years in the house. Schakowsky lives in Evanston and has been very active in the community, being present at several protests and Black Lives Matter marches. She also often visits ETHS to help gauge the opinions of her teenage constituents.
Schakowsky is a proponent of women’s reproductive rights and promises to continue to fight for those rights in her next term.

Ill. State Senate, District 7

Democratic incumbent Heather Steans was re-elected to the Illinois State Senate, representing District 7—which includes portions of southern Evanston, Roger’s Park and Edgewater.
First elected in 2008, some of Steans’s accomplishments include passing marriage equality legislation, reforming Illinois’ Medicaid program, passing the Equal Rights Amendment in 2018, and passing legislation to legalize adult-use cannabis. Other priorities are working on bullying prevention and the Illinois state budget.

Ill. General Assembly, District 14

Running unopposed, Democrat Kelly Cassidy was re-elected for her seventh term in the Illinois General Assembly, representing portions of southern Evanston and Roger’s Park.
As a state representative, Cassidy has helped pass the Human Rights Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act and has also been a vocal defender of pro-choice policies. Other points of focus for Cassidy include criminal justice reform, opposing Illinois’ flat tax system, and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. Cassidy is one of three openly LGBTQ elected officials in Illinois’s state government.

Ill. General Assembly, District 17

In the race for Illinois House Representative of District 17, Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz of Glenview defeated Republican challenger Christopher Kruger by a margin of over 31 percent. Gong-Gershowitz represents portions of northern Evanston, Skokie and Glenview.
First elected in 2018, Gong-Gershowitz has made supporting environmental laws and policies, the state funding of education and women’s rights the focal points of her career and re-election campaign.

Ill. General Assembly, District 18

Democrat Robyn Gabel of Evanston won her sixth consecutive election to the Illinois House of Representatives for District 18. Gabel represents the majority of Evanston, Wilmette, Winnetka, Glencoe and Northfield.
Garnering over 70 percent of the vote, she beat Independent candidate Sean Matlis by an impressive margin. Having served in the Illinois House since 2010, Gabel’s priorities this time around are addressing the effects of the pandemic, specifically in terms of budget issues and housing and food security, as well as continuing the work she has done previously in the realms of clean energy and racial equity.

Illinois Allow for Graduated Income Tax Amendment

After a large push from Democrats, proposed Illinois Allow for Graduated Income Tax Amendment, commonly called the Fair Tax amendment, was rejected in a 46-54 vote.
The amendment would have changed the Illinois tax rate from a flat rate—the same for every citizen, no matter their income—to a graduated rate in which the rate at which a person is taxed is based on yearly income. If the amendment had passed, Illinois would have become the 33rd state to implement a graduated tax system. The ballot measure proposed to cut taxes for 98 percent of Illinois residents and was backed by Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot who said, “I’ve been fortunate enough in my life to make a substantial amount over time. I think people recognize the need for everyone to pay their fair share…. that’s what the Fair Tax, as it’s known, seeks to accomplish.” However, Lightfoot did not actively champion the campaign to the same extent as Pritzker.
The measure needed 60 percent approval to pass and become a part of the Illinois Constitution, which it did not receive. This can most likely be attributed to the lack of information that was readily available to the public on the amendment, as well as rampant advertising, sponsored by a handful of wealthy elites, that espoused that if the measure passed, taxes would increase on countless Illinoisians.
As COVID-19 continues to rock the state’s economy, Pritzker will look for different ways to minimize the damage and continue to operate needed departments.

Cook County State’s Attorney

Incumbent Kim Foxx won her bid for re-election as the Cook County State’s Attorney against Republican challenger Pat O’Brien by a margin of 14 percent.
Foxx ran on a platform of reforming the criminal justice system to make it fairer for Black and Latinx citizens as well as focusing on violent crime instead of lower-level offenses. Foxx is the first Black woman to serve as the Cook County State’s Attorney and, thereby, the first to win re-election.