- Associated Press - Thursday, May 29, 2014

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois voters could see as many as seven ballot measures on Nov. 4, which state election officials say could be unprecedented. What actually ends up before voters won’t be determined until election officials certify ballots later this summer, but the most Illinois has had in a year - including constitutional amendments and nonbinding questions - has been three. From term limits to questions about birth control and minimum wage, here’s a look at ballot measures considered this year:


The group Yes! for Independent Maps wants to change how Illinois draws its political boundaries by letting an independent commission take over the process from politicians. The group submitted more than 500,000 signatures to the State Board of Elections, which is reviewing them. A preliminary sampling showed many invalid signatures, but the group is appealing. The effort to amend the state’s constitution faces a legal challenge in a lawsuit filed by an attorney affiliated with top Democrats.


A group backed by Republican governor candidate Bruce Rauner wants to alter the Illinois Constitution to limit statewide officers to two terms and change the size of the state Legislature. The group delivered nearly 600,000 signatures to the State Board of Elections, which is reviewing signatures and expected to release preliminary findings soon. The initiative has been subject of a lawsuit, along with the redistricting measure.


The proposal to change the state’s Constitution prevents people from being denied the right to register to vote or cast a ballot based on race, ethnicity, status as a member of a language minority, sex, sexual orientation or income. The measure, which passed both the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support, is aimed at protecting voters. Nine states have made it harder to vote since the beginning of 2013.


The plan, which overwhelmingly passed the House and Senate and proposes to amend the state constitution, would provide for more enforceable victim rights in trials and court proceedings, as well as post-trial proceedings. Advocates say the state constitution guarantees crime victims certain rights but they’re technically unenforceable.


The nonbinding measure asks voters if Illinois residents who make more than $1 million a year should have a 3 percent surcharge added to their incomes. The Illinois House and Senate advanced the plan. Democrats say the money would be used for education, but Republicans say the measure is purely political.


The non-binding measure asks voters if Illinois should increase its minimum wage to $10 an hour from $8.25 by 2015. Legislative attempts to raise the minimum wage, coinciding with Democrats’ national push, have failed. The plan has passed both the House and Senate. Several business groups oppose raising the minimum wage.


The state Senate has approved a non-binding question for the November ballot that reads: “Shall any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage?” Republicans have called it moot because Illinois has a law on the books that already does so, but the sponsor says it helps solidify Illinois’ support.


An effort to let Illinois voters consider a proposed overhaul of the state’s income tax system died when lawmakers adjourned in early May without taking a vote ahead of a deadline to get constitutional amendments on the ballot. The measure would have replaced Illinois’ flat tax on individuals to increase the rate of taxation on wealthier residents.

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