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Reproductive rights on the ballot? Hear what’s next (Free CLE available)

So many outrageous and hurtful things have happened the past few years that it’s hard to keep track of what’s under attack. Some don’t get the attention they deserve and really need to be talked about. Join us online on Thursday, August 27, from 7-8 PM for another installment in our Tenth Dems U program — “Still at Stake: Women’s Reproductive Rights on the Ballot” with Personal PAC’s President and CEO Terry Cosgrove. Personal PAC is a leader in helping to keep reproductive rights in Illinois safe from right-wing extremists.

RSVP required at

Admission is free. Open to Democrats. Free Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit available for attorneys.

Click here to RSVP.

Hope to see you there!

Make Your Vote Count – Starting Today!

(Updated. Originally posted July 8, 2020)

Voting by mail in Illinois has never been easier—which is great, since your vote has never been more important! So we’ve got some answers to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

How do I arrange to vote by mail, also known as VBM?

The first step for voting by mail (links available in article) is to request a ballot by submitting an “application.”

You can do that online or by returning a paper application. To request a ballot online, get started by going to your County Clerk’s website. If you live in Lake County, click here.  If you live in Cook County, click here.

If you haven’t applied online and are a registered voter who voted in 2018, 2019, or the 2020 primary, or you registered to vote after the 2020 primary, your County Clerk should have already mailed you a vote by mail application at the address on your voter registration. You can fill in that application and return it to your County Clerk’s office by fax, email, or U.S. Mail.

If you didn’t submit an application requesting a ballot online or receive one in the mail, you can go online now, or call Tenth Dems at our Voter Assistance Hotline, 847-432-VOTE (8683).

What is the deadline for submitting an application to request a VBM ballot?

You can submit the application any time up until October 29, 2020. Obviously, the earlier you request your ballot, the more time you’ll have to make sure everything is in order.

When will I receive my VBM ballot?

Starting on September 24, 2020, County Clerks will mail VBM ballots to all registered voters who requested one by submitting an application. If you wait to request your ballot until after October 1, 2020, your County Clerk must mail the ballot to you within two business days of receiving your application.

What if I get a VBM ballot and then decide I want to vote in person?

Just bring your VBM ballot and certification envelope that came with it to your polling place once in-person voting begins, return them to an election judge, and request a regular ballot to vote then and there. Easy! But having that VBM ballot in hand before the polls are open for in-person voting ensures that if you’d rather not leave home, you can still vote.

If I do decide I want to vote by mail, what’s the deadline for sending in my ballot?

Vote by mail ballots must be returned or postmarked no later than Election Day, November 3, 2020. A ballot postmarked by Election Day will be valid as long as it is received within 14 days after Election Day. A mailed ballot takes a regular first-class stamp. If you live in Cook County, your ballot will come with a postage-paid return envelope.

County Clerks also plan to place secure ballot drop boxes at locations TBD.

What if I don’t understand how to fill out and return my VBM ballot?

Your VBM ballot will come to you with clear instructions, including illustrations. And closer to September 24, Tenth Dems will post clear instructions, with illustrations, as well.

More questions? Call our Voter Assistance Hotline at 847-432-VOTE (8683).

Next Up in Tenth Dems U: “Political Fraud and the First Amendment” with NU Law Professor Marty Redish

We’re really excited about the third in our series of Tenth Dems U events for August, which has been approved for 1.5 professional responsibility CLE credits for lawyers. We already had a great event on August 4 with Rachel Bitecofer, who shared her predictions with a rapt audience of more than 160 people, and another on August 9 with Sierra Club Illinois’s Deputy Director Kady McFadden who, with her colleague Jess Beverly, discussed the Clean Energy Jobs Act (CEJA-HB3624/SB2321) and how Illinois can move forward 100% clean energy legislation in this moment in time.

On Wednesday, August 12, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm, Northwestern Law Professor Marty Redish, among the most frequently cited legal scholars in the country, will discuss whether the First Amendment protects the use of knowingly false speech to achieve a political goal. RSVP online for “Political Fraud and the First Amendment: Does the Constitution Protect Lies?” with Constitutional Law Professor Marty Redish. Professional responsibility CLE credit available for attorneys.


Local Grassroots Democratic Group Hears From National Forecaster Dr. Rachel Bitecofer (“The Election Whisperer”) In Latest Part Of Its Tenth Dems U Series

Waukegan, IL – Over 160 people joined, via Zoom, the Tenth Congressional District Democrats’ (Tenth Dems’) conversation with Dr. Rachel Bitecofer as she answered the question, “What’s going to happen in November?” The author and political prognosticator gained fame by predicting with near perfection the results of the 2018 midterm races. Bitecofer was the featured speaker in the latest installment in the Tenth Dems U program, which offers a chance to become a better-educated voter, a more active and effective political volunteer, and to learn the skills needed to run for public office. 
On August 4th, almost exactly three months from Election Day, Bitecofer explained why Democrats should be optimistic about 2020 while cautioning the enthusiastic audience that the outcome depends on a lot of hard, grassroots work, such as registering voters, contacting them by phone, and explaining how to vote by mail. Fortunately, Tenth Dems has been involved with all of those crucial activities and will continue to help make sure Democrats up and down the ballot win this fall.
Bitecofer, who has been called “The Election Whisperer” because of her uncanny ability to predict races so accurately, discussed her 2020 reasoning and answered several audience questions. Undeterred by a hurricane-related power outage, Bitecofer talked from her car, or, as she dubbed it, her “mobile war room.” She said, to the delight of many, that area Democrats Congresswoman Lauren Underwood and Congressman Sean Casten are in good shape to win again. The same was true for Democrats running for Senate and presidential nominee Joe Biden. Bitecofer also discussed Biden’s running mate search, surprises that could change the political landscape, and the importance of voter turnout, among other topics.
Another key point from Bitecofer rings true across a large part of the country, including in the 10th District: Donald Trump and the Republican Party, because of their rhetoric and performance in elected office, are simply more and more toxic to more and more people. Voters in and around the 10th District have moved towards Democrats and will continue to do so because of the sharp contrast between Democrats and Republicans in both values and effectiveness.

Practical Training for Democrats

Our Tenth Dems U program offers a chance to become a better-educated voter and a more active and effective political volunteer, and to learn the skills you need if you ever want to run for public office.

Here are a few of our July Tenth Dems U events that should help Democrats this November – and beyond.

On July 21, some 50 new users and folks who wanted to refresh their skills attended Votebuilder: Learn the Voter Database to learn the basics for using the Democrats’ voter database, including voter look-ups and creating phone bank lists.

Check out the next two courses in this series and join us at these practical programs. Admission is FREE. RSVP required.

07/26/2020: Lake Dems and Tenth Dems U Cosponsor an Orientation and Refresher for New and Continuing Precinct Committeepersons

When: Sunday, July 26, 2020 from 4:00 – 5:00pm

Where: Online Training via Zoom. RSVP required.  For login instructions, register online.

What: One in a series of training events cosponsored by the Lake Dems and Tenth Dems U for volunteers, candidates and prospective candidates. In this session, learn about the responsibilities of precinct committeepersons and exchange tips on how to help our Democratic candidates win in 2020. Admission is free.

07/29/2020: Lake Dems and Tenth Dems U Cosponsor Running for Local Office (Including Getting and Staying on the Ballot)

When: Wednesday, July 29, 2020 from 7:00 – 8:30pm

Where: Online via Zoom.  RSVP required.  For login instructions, register online.

What: One in a series of training events cosponsored by the Lake Dems and Tenth Dems U for volunteers, candidates and prospective candidates. In this session, former Chicago Bar Association Election Law Committee Chair Ross Secler will lead a discussion on running for village, school board, library, park board and township offices. Petitions will be available to start circulating in September. Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credit available for attorneys. Admission is free.