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November ballot looks to be packed

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It looks like the November ballot in Illinois will be a crowded one.

But not with people.

If everything makes it onto the ballot, the voters will have their chance to give their opinions on a number of constitutional amendments and poll-style questions. Seven, to be exact.

There are three planned non-binding questions. Should people who earn more than $1 million a year see a bump in their income taxes? Should health insurers be required to cover the cost of contraception? Should Illinois raise the minimum wage for people over 18 from $8.25 an hour to $10?

On Sunday, Gov. Pat Quinn signed a ballot measure approving the minimum wage question. The question about contraception is an odd one because Illinois law already requires insurers to cover birth control for women, but State Rep. Iris Martinez (D) contends the measure is necessary as a means of deflecting future consideration of discontinuing such coverage.

The four other possible questions seek to change the Illinois Constitution.

One protects citizens' voting rights, which some have argued is a solution looking for a problem. Another deals with the rights of crime victims. While this is a good thing, there is the question of whether it needs to be an amendment or if it could have been passed as a statute.

Both of those seem sure to pass.

The other two proposed amendments are about legislator term limits and how Illinois draws its political districts. Both are subject to a lawsuit questioning their constitutionality. It remains to be seen whether they will be allowed on the November ballot, especially since the ballot must be approved in August.

After poor turnout for the primary election, adding seven initiatives to the ballot seems to be a way of trying to draw out the voters for the fall election. Many of these were lead by Democrat lawmakers. But is seven too much? Will this lead to voter fatigue by the end of the ballot?

The upcoming fall election will also include the race for governor. Incumbent Pat Quinn (D) is hoping to win re-election against Republican candidate, Bruce Rauner.

Depending on the winner of that race, the criminal justice system in Illinois could be facing some changes.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, The News-Gazette, Chicago Sun-Times, Daily Journal, and Canton Daily Ledger

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