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Tri States Public Radio and NPR News will provide you with updated stories from all of our local and national elections between now and November. The NPR News element below will be updated constantly, and will sometimes provide live coverage and audio from important events leading up to the November elections. You can find all of our local coverage after the jump.Election 2012 News From NPR

Citizen Initiatives Begin Navigating Statutes, Lawsuits

Illinois State Board of Elections employees work to verify a sampling of petition signatures for two citizen-initiated constitutional amendments.
Illinois State Board of Elections employees work to verify a sampling of petition signatures for two citizen-initiated constitutional amendments.
Illinois State Board of Elections employees work to verify a sampling of petition signatures for two citizen-initiated constitutional amendments.
Credit Amanda Vinicky/WUIS
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Illinois State Board of Elections employees work to verify a sampling of petition signatures for two citizen-initiated constitutional amendments.

  Even as a lawsuit could nullify them, the state board of elections has begun a tedious — but necessary — task of preparing a pair of proposed constitutional amendments for the November ballot. The two citizen initiatives aim to strip lawmakers of the power to draw their own maps and to limit their terms in office.

Filing through thousands of pages of petitions is just the beginning of challenges for citizen-initiated constitutional amendments, as Amanda Vinicky reports.

A dozen-or-so workers sit at tables at the board of elections building in Springfield.

Sliding, one at a time, more than 105,000 pieces of paper through scanners," said Rupert Borgsmiller, director of the Illinois State Board of Elections.

"We will fill out a piece of paper for each petition page, that will indicate if there's any signature line that is vacant, so that whenever we do a random sampling, it will only be from lines that have a signature on it," he said.

A random sampling, to determine if there are enough — 298,400 — signatures to put the questions on the ballot.

That's just part of the complicated process.

A lawsuit's trying to put an end to it before elections authorities get too far. A challenge to the citizens' initiatives says both the term limits and redistricting plans are unconstitutional. The suit says the State Board of Elections has, and will, spend tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars checking the signatures, and there's no point on wasting taxpayer funds on invalid proposals.

Borgsmiller says the elections board contracted with the University of Illinois Springfield to create the software that will be used to conduct the random samplings.

Copyright 2014 NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Amanda Vinicky
Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.