The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

A Student’s Guide to the March 2018 Primary Election

There’s still time to vote in competitive races, from governor on down.
Senator Barack Obama and wife Michelle leave the 23rd precinct polling place at Shoesmith Beulah Elementary School in Kenwood after voting in the 2008 Illinois primary.

UCDI’s Citizen Bulletin: 2018 Primary Election Guide for UChicago Students 

Subscribe here.

Early Voting:      March 5-19 2018 (Election Day is March 20th)

Where to Vote:   Bessie Coleman Library at 731 East 63rd Street. (Located adjacent to the Cottage Grove Green Line CTA station at 63rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue.)

When to Vote:    Monday through Saturday: 9am-5pm (closing time extended to 7pm on March  12-16); Sundays: 10am-4pm [vote early anytime between March 5th and March 19th]

Who Can Vote:  All UChicago students who are non-incarcerated U.S. Citizens are eligible to vote (unless you have voted in a primary election in 2018 in a different state)

**You do NOT have to be a member of a political party to vote in this primary. You will choose which party’s primary (Democratic or Republican) you will vote in when you arrive at the polling place. This election will select one Democratic candidate and one Republican candidate to advance to the 2018 general election for Illinois Governor and other state and local offices.

What will be on my ballot?

Major Offices with Competitive Primary Races:

State Offices:

  • Governor of Illinois
  • Attorney General of Illinois
  • IL State Representative

Local Offices:

  • Cook County Board President
  • Cook County Board Commissioner
  • Cook County Assessor

Advisory (non-binding) referendum issues:

  • Legalizing recreational marijuana
  • Healthcare access
  • Gun control
  • Opioid epidemic

See the full 2018 Democratic Primary Ballot here

See the full 2018 Republican Primary Ballot here


Do I Need to Bring ID?

No. If you are a registered voter in Illinois, you do NOT need any ID to vote

What if I am not registered to vote in Illinois?

  • It’s not too late: If you are not registered to vote, you can register at your polling place and cast a vote, as long as you meet the eligibility requirements (above) and have 2 forms of ID with you:
    • Your UChicago ID card can count as your first ID
    • An Illinois Driver’s License or passport with an Illinois address can count as your second ID
    • The second ID must list your current address in Chicago—this can include certain types of mail addressed to your name

Cook County Board President

The Cook County Board of Commissioners consists of 17 commissioners and a Board President who manage Cook County affairs, levy taxes and appropriate funds for County operations. Cook County plays a significant role in the provision of healthcare services and the criminal justice system.

Democratic Primary (no Republican Candidates):

Toni Preckwinkle: (incumbent)

Preckwinkle has been the incumbent since 2010 and has 30 years of local political experience, during which she spent 19 years as Fourth Ward Alderman. She is the current president of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Preckwinkle was endorsed by the Cook County Democratic Party, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Chicago Daily Herald. She also earned Bachelor’s and Master's Degrees from the University of Chicago.

Bob Fioretti:

Fioretti was Alderman for four years in the Second Ward, and was a 2011 mayoral candidate. Fioretti practices law, and worked on civil rights cases with the General Litigation Division for the Corporation Counsel of the City of Chicago.

Key Issues:

The Soda Tax

Preckwinkle muscled her sweetened beverage tax through the commission in order to stave off cuts of social services; the tax immediately became deeply unpopular and was repealed barely two months after going into effect. For a more detailed evaluation of the soda tax implementation, see The Paul Douglas Institute's report on the subject.

  • Preckwinkle claims she needed to raise funds because of insufficient state financing, she now has to implement healthcare and justice system layoffs to makeup the deficit. Preckwinkle had also raised the Cook County sales tax by 1 percent in 2015, after reversing a prior sales tax increase that served as a major campaign issue.
  • Fioretti claims Preckwinkle broke campaign promises not to raise taxes and implemented the costly soda tax dishonestly (under the pretext of health while revenue was the true motivation); he also claims the state financing would not have been forthcoming as the pension plan in question would not have passed court scrutiny

County Pensions

  • Preckwinkle wants to maintain traditional pensions, while Fioretti prefers switching to 401(k) plans, which are typical in the private sector; such a shift would reduce employee benefits but bring down the County’s costs
  • Fioretti wants to cut the operating costs of the Cook County Board, which are considerably higher than other similar local agencies.

Joe Berrios and the Cook County Assessor’s Office

  • Preckwinkle has endorsed Berrios for reelection, while Fioretti opposes Berrios. See our section on the Cook County Assessor's race to learn about allegations against the assessor’s office under Berrios’ tenure.

Cook County Board Commissioner (3rd District)

The Cook County Board of Commissioners consists of 17 commissioners and a Board President who manage Cook County affairs, levy taxes and appropriate funds for County operations. Cook County plays a significant role in the provision of healthcare services and the criminal justice system.

The third district has a race for the Democratic primary, as 30-year incumbent Jerry “Iceman” Butler is retiring.

Joshua Gray:

Gray is Director of Advocacy for KIPP Chicago. He has also been a community organizer for the 5th, 6th and 17th Wards, a canvasser for the Democratic National Committee, a volunteer for Obama for America, Chairman of the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center board. He wants “fiscal responsibility, to increase access to county services in the Chicago area, and juvenile reform.”

Bill Lowry:

Lowry is an attorney; president and co-managing shareholder of Nyhan, Bambrick, Kinzie & Lowry, P.C. He founded the “It’s Time Organization,” which provides programming education for high school students. He aims for local “access to high-quality health, mental health and dental care,” wants to find revenue to support Cook County jobs and services, and also wants to reduce recidivism rates.

Patricia Horton:

Horton is the commissioner of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago and also has 25 years of private and public sector service to the local community. Horton wants to balance the budget by decreasing spending, while still reducing taxes. Horton plans to create more transparency and accountability. Horton is concerned mostly with education issues, the tax burden, and inequitable policies across the county.

Charise Williams:

Williams is Deputy Chief of Staff for Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs. She has been involved in many local political organizations in the Cook County area. She also wants to fight “excessive taxation” and find new sources of revenue. She aims at progressive criminal justice reform.

Steven Wolfe:

Wolfe wants a freeze on property taxes, criminal justice reform, and increased safety in the neighborhood.

Erick Nickerson:

Nickerson is a community business development specialist who has worked 25 years with the state, and served as the former mayor of Dixmoor, Illinois. He aims at reducing debt, as well as helping people keep their houses. He disavows the current political establishment and wants to create revenue through commercial development and increased governmental efficiency.

Horace Howard:

Howard is a mental health organizer for STOP who has volunteered for federal, state, and local campaigns. He wants to overhaul the county budget through spending cuts and finding new sources of revenue.

Illinois State House Representative 25th District

Curtis J. Tarver II:

Potentially considered the frontrunner, trial attorney and former small businessman Curtis Tarver has secured the endorsement of the Chicago Tribune and AFL-CIO and has raised more money (~$89,000) than any other candidate. Tarver supports legalizing marijuana, emphasizes a rehabilitation-oriented approach to criminal justice, and believes that campaign finance reform is not a pressing issue. With regard to fiscal issues, Tarver is opposed to spending cuts, instead favoring revenue-raising approaches to balance the state’s budget such as moving to a graduated income tax. Tarver opposes cuts to the state’s pension obligations, favoring the position of public sector labor unions.

Angelique N. Collins:

Woodlawn resident, entrepreneur, holder of a master’s degree in business administration, and daughter of State Senator Jacqueline Collins, Angelique Collins differs from the consensus among other candidates on several issues: Collins supports balancing the budget without raising any new revenue, instead focusing on reducing incarceration to reduce prison expenses, eliminating the office of the lieutenant governor, implementing partial work requirements for Medicaid, and privatizing technical support functions, and other “waste.” Collins is undecided about a progressive income tax. With regard to pensions, Collins supports reforms such as limiting the size of government bureaucracies, moving new workers to defined contribution pension plans, while leaving existing worker’s situations unchanged.

Anne Marie Miles:

A lawyer and social activist, Miles supports a $15 minimum wage, a progressive income tax, marijuana legalization, and implementing the Paris climate agreement on the state level. Miles opposes water privatization, cash bail requirements, and for-profit prisons. She is also willing to consider pension reform, including a hybrid defined-contribution plan and negotiated benefit restrictions. Miles supports campaign finance regulation, including publicly financed campaigns, disclosure requirements, and donation caps; additionally, she is the only candidate to support legislative term limits.

Adrienne Irmer:

As well as being a social change activist with experience in community-level civic organizations, Adrienne Irmer holds a master’s degree in public policy and served as assistant to the city manager of Beverly Hills, CA. Irmer favors increased spending on pre-K access and anti-recidivism programs, as well as the legalization of marijuana with retroactive re-sentencing. Irmer supports a graduated income tax, opposes any changes to existing employees’ pension benefits, and is concerned about a racially inequitable distribution of resources. Irmer prioritizes highway safety standards and environmental rules, as well as fully funding healthcare programs. Irmer supports public financing of campaigns.

Flynn Rush:

The son of 20-year U.S. Representative Bobby Rush and an ordained minister, Flynn Rush emphasizes the need to generate more investment to fix resource disparities that leave people of color economically worse off. Rush supports restrictions on manganese pollution from the SH Bell factory, increases in CPS funding, tax credits to lure job creation, strong gun laws, rent controls, and other anti-gentrification measures. Rush opposes new campaign finance regulations. Rush favors raising revenue to balance the budget and support existing pension obligations rather than enacting spending cuts or pension changes.

Grace Chan McKibben:

With experience working in government and non-profit sectors and community organizations, University of Chicago alum Grace McKibben supports full funding of education and social services. McKibben also supports switching Chicago’s appointed school board to an elected school board. McKibbon supports “decoupling” CPS funding from property taxes, and limiting charter school expansion. McKibbon proposes rent controls, a tenant support “watchdog” unit, and a program to give tenants facing eviction access to legal counsel along with other rights. McKibbon supports expanding L lines and bus routes to better serve Hyde Park.

Cook County Assessor

The Cook County Assessor sets values for 1.8 million parcels of property in Cook County, determining how much property tax will have to paid on each parcel. The Cook County Assessor can also suggest plans to help with economic development, job creation, and short-term tax relief.

Joseph Berrios

Current chair of the Cook County Democratic Party and commissioner on the Cook County Board of review, Berrios is the incumbent running for Cook County Assessor. He has made the Office of the Assessor more efficient and, unlike previous assessors, has sent out tax bills on time. However, he has also been accused of making inaccurate property evaluations which benefit the wealthy and harm the poor. Additionally, the majority of his campaign funds come from property tax appeal lawyers, which directly conduct business with the Assessor.

Fritz Kaegi

Kaegi is a progressive democrat, Hyde Park native, and is a financial manager at Columbia Wagner Asset Management. His focus has been on increasing transparency in the Office of the Assessor by making public the method by which property values are calculated and making campaign contribution openly accessible. He claims that he will not take campaign contributions from any group that does business with the Office of the Assessor and will focus on racial and ethnic diversity when hiring new staff.

Illinois Attorney General

Democratic incumbent Lisa Madigan has declined to run for reelection, leaving an open seat that has drawn a crowded field on the Democratic side.

Democratic Primary

Kwame Raoul

He is a former Cook County prosecutor and is currently serving as state senator for the 13th District. He supports a variety of gun control measures and opposed Governor Rauner’s cuts to mental health care funding. He supports expanding Medicare and the Affordable Care Act. He also wants to reform the criminal justice system to make it more fair and supports the Equal Rights Amendment. He has been endorsed by many members of the Democratic Party.

Pat Quinn

He is the former governor of Illinois, ousted in 2015 by Bruce Rauner. Quinn has helped pass legislation to expand healthcare and supports expanding consumer protection and workers’ rights. He was criticized while governor due to his poor handling of the financial crisis.

Nancy Rotering

Rotering was the mayor of Highland Park for two years. She firmly believes in harsher gun control laws and implemented an assault weapons ban in Highland Park. She supports the legalization of marijuana, increased consumer protection measures, reforming the criminal justice system, and protecting the environment.

Jesse Ruiz

A UChicago Law School Alumnus, he worked at a law firm for over 20 years and has been president of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, legal counsel to the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation, Chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education, and interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools. His main focus as attorney general would be to fight corruption in government, establish criminal justice reform, and combat the Trump administration’s actions to diminish workplace and immigration rights.

Renato Mariotti

He has worked as a federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice, Securities and Commodities Fraud Section. He is a relatively progressive candidate and his platform focuses on improving Illinois government transparency to fight corruption, protect workers from wage-theft, and implement stricter gun control policies. Additionally, he wants to protect the rights of women, immigrants, and the LGBTQ community.

Sharon Fairley

She has served as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office as well as the assistant attorney general for Illinois. She wants to strengthen the Government Integrity Bureau to help fight corruption and improve transparency in the state government. She also supports criminal justice reform, protecting the environment, protecting civil rights, and passing stricter gun legislation. She has been endorsed by the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.

Aaron Goldstein

He taught law at DePaul and North Park University and worked as a public defender in Cook County. Since 2016, he has served as Democratic committeeman for the 33rd ward, where he has created a new process to evaluate judicial candidates. He has taken an anti-establishment stance on the Democratic party and government in general. His biggest priority will be to fight corruption and big banks as well as fighting to end the drug war.

Scott Drury

Drury is an Illinois State Representative who served as the Vice-Chairman of the House Judiciary-Criminal Committee and as a Commissioner on the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice and Sentencing Reform. He sided with Republicans and voted against the “millionaire tax” in 2014, which left Democrats two votes shy of passing it. He has an anti-establishment stance on the Democratic Party, being the only Democrat to vote against Mike Madigan as Speaker of the House in Illinois. His main platform focuses are anti-corruption, anti-gun violence, and fighting opioid epidemic.

Republican Primary

Gary Grasso

He served as mayor of Burr Ridge Illinois for two terms and is now on the DuPage County Board. He wants to target corruption in government and investigate the property value assessment system. He does not believe that DACA is a viable solution and also wants to address the opioid crisis in the state.

Erika Harold

Harold serves on the National Board of Directors of Prison Fellowship and advocates for bipartisan criminal justice reform. She serves on the Illinois Supreme Court committee on equality and is commissioner on the Illinois Supreme Court Commission on professionalism. She supports criminal justice reform and initiatives to reduce violence in the state. Her platform also stresses fighting corruption and sexual harassment. She would try to make Illinois more friendly to small businesses. Harold has been endorsed by Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.

Illinois Governor

Republican Primary

Bruce Rauner (incumbent)

Rauner is the incumbent candidate running for reelection. He wants to enact term limits for more political positions, cut taxes, and reform the criminal justice system to allow convicts to adjust to life outside of prison more easily. As governor, Rauner has cut funding for many programs, including higher education, Medicaid, and state employee pensions, all in the name of fiscal responsibility. He has also implemented a freeze on property taxes and supports “right to work” zones. He has decreased the required fees to start new businesses. Rauner has taken moderate stances on social issues such as abortion, transgender rights, and sanctuary cities. Rauner vetoed every budget sent to him by the legislature over a three year period, claiming that these bills were fiscally irresponsible and would only worsen the state’s financial problems. However, the vetoes created a backlog of unpaid bills, imperiling the provision of social services and higher educational institutions and threatening the solvency of the state. Rauner has pointed to Speaker of the House Michael Madigan for refusing to compromise on economic issues, but many still blame Rauner for the budget crisis. Rauner’s administration has recently received criticism for failing to prevent a lethal Legionnaires’ disease outbreak at the state-run Quincy Veterans Home.

Jeanne Ives

Ives is a representative in the Illinois state house for the 42nd District. Ives tacks avowedly to the right of Rauner on social issues, identifying herself as pro-life, opposing legalization of any form of marijuana, and opposing any legislation expanding rights for the LGBT community, including same sex marriage. In particular, Ives opposes sanctuary cities and argues that Illinois law enforcement ought to assist federal immigration agents in conducting deportations. Ives ran a controversial television advertisement attacking Rauner by depicting him as helping minorities, transgender people, and pro-choice advocates. On economic issues, Ives opposes any increase to the minimum wage, and urges renegotiating the state’s pension commitments to reduce costs. Ives supports a 1 percent “hard” cap on property taxes.

Democratic Primary

J.B. Pritzker

Pritzker is a venture capitalist, co-founder of the Pritzker Group and heir to the multibillion dollar Hyatt Hotel chain fortune. His platform focuses on resisting Donald Trump, expanding affordable healthcare, upholding the Paris climate agreement within the state of Illinois, and fighting for the rights of minority groups. He supports the implementation of a progressive income tax system and the legalization of marijuana. Furthermore, he has a plan to expand affordable healthcare to all residents of Illinois. Pritzker wants to combat the opioid epidemic by focusing on substance abuse education and increasing access to mental health and substance abuse treatment. A controversial FBI wiretap recording of a conversation between Pritzker and then-Governor Rod Blagojevich caused many to accuse him of involvement in Blagojevich’s schemes to sell political offices, though no legal case against Pritzker exists.

Daniel Biss

Biss was a professor of mathematics at the University of Chicago, and currently represents the 9th district in the Illinois State Senate. Biss supports a state constitutional amendment which would replace the state’s current flat-rate tax income tax with a progressive income tax, as well as ‘Medicare for all’ proposals. He supports the legalization of marijuana, the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, and the increase of the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Biss supports reining in pension costs by consolidating pension systems among other reforms. Further, Biss wants to reform the Illinois political process by matching small donations to campaigns, improving access to ballots, setting term limits for leadership positions in the Illinois general assembly, and implementing a ranked-choice voting system. He attracted attention after dropping his first running mate due to his views on Israel.

Chris Kennedy

He is the son of former U.S. senator Robert F. Kennedy and the former chair of the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. Chris Kennedy wants to support economic growth in the state by increasing funding for public education and increasing opportunity for women and minorities to enter the business world. He wants to increase access to unions and is opposed to “right to work” laws. He supports a single-payer healthcare system and wants to target gun violence by implementing stricter gun control legislation and supporting communities that are more prone to gun violence. He has pledged to pay pension bills on time. He supports ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, implementing term limits for government offices, and making Illinois a sanctuary state.

Bob Daiber

Daiber serves as the Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools, originally elected to the office in 2006. Daiber prioritizes solving the state’s budget crisis and promises to pass an education funding bill as his first appropriation. Previously, Daiber was a shop teacher for Triad High School, and served as the President of the Triad Education Association. He is the only Democratic candidate from outside of the Chicago area. He supports selling bonds of the state debt in order to reduce interest and implementing a progressive income tax. He also wants to increase funding for public education and community healthcare. He is against setting term limits for government offices.

Tio Hardiman

Hardiman is the executive director of Violence Interrupters and a professor at Governors State University specializing in criminal justice issues. Hardiman supports a progressive income tax, improved anti-discrimination policies, increasing funding to violence prevention programs, and ending the “school-to-prison-pipeline.” From 1999 to 2013, he directed CeaseFire Illinois, a nonprofit organization committed to reducing violence in the urban Chicago area. Hardiman was has been a gubernatorial candidate in previous elections.

Robert Marshall

Dr. Marshall is a physician and radiologist, who previously served as the director of radiology at MacNeal Hospital. Marshall previously ran for the U.S. House in 1988 as a Republican, for the U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 2010, and for the U.S. House in 2016, and additionally worked in the 2008 Obama Presidential campaign. Marshall supports term limits for US and Illinois representatives, reforming the Affordable Care Act, a $15 minimum wage, and passing the Equal Rights Amendment in Illinois. He distinguishes himself from other candidates for his unique proposal to divide Illinois into three new states: The city of Chicago, the Chicago suburbs, and the southern portion of the state.

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