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Organizers of the Evanston Voter Initiative petition drive say they plan to turn in their petitions to get the measure on the ballot Monday — the deadline day for voter initiated referendum questions to be placed on the primary election ballot next March.

The measure will require submission of more than 2,700 valid signatures to make it onto the ballot.

If voters support the proposal, it would create a new alternative process for enacting city ordinances, with the following steps:

  1. If at least 25 registered voters petition the city clerk for a new ordinance, the clerk would draft their proposal into ordinance form.
  2. If supporters of the proposal then gather petition signatures equal to at least 8% of the total votes cast in Evanston for candidates for governor in the last gubernatorial election (currently more than 2,700 signatures), the proposal would be placed on the City Council agenda.
  3. If the City Council did not adopt the ordinance within 70 days, the measure then would be submitted to the voters at the next election.
  4. If the measure received support from a majority of voters in that election, the ordinance would go into effect, unless it was disapproved by a resolution of the City Council within 30 days after the election.

The voter initiative concept has been pushed by former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

A cluster of activists dissatisfied with various City Council decisions have been involved in circulating the Evanston Voter Initiative petitions, including ones who were instrumental in placing the advisory referendum about the Harley Clarke mansion on the November 2018 ballot.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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