June 4, 2021


Statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, on passage of Senate Bill 825, the trans-affirming election omnibus legislation passed by the Illinois General Assembly on Monday, May 31, 2021:

“During Pride Month and at a time of vicious attacks in other state capitols against voting rights and trans rights, Equality Illinois applauds and thanks the Illinois General Assembly for passing significant election legislation. While there are many important provisions in SB 825 that will protect and advance voting rights in Illinois, we want to highlight the provisions that affirm trans Illinoisans by removing a harmful barrier to public service.

“Right now, a candidate for office in Illinois must publish both their current legal name and former legal name on the ballot and their nominating petitions if they changed their name within three years of running for office. This requirement can be particularly harmful to trans candidates, who may have to publish their deadname on the ballot and petitions and out themselves in order to seek public service.

“Under SB 825, a candidate who changed their legal name to conform with their gender identity will no longer have to publish their deadname on the ballot and on nominating petitions. SB 825 also adds an exemption for a name change because of a civil union. These changes join the existing exemptions in the Election Code for name changes because of marriage, divorce, or adoption.

“With SB 825, trans Illinoisans can lend their talents to public service and run for office without having to publish their deadnames on the ballot. We thank House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, Senate President Don Harmon, Rep. Maurice A. West II, Rep. Kelly M. Burke, and Rep. Daniel Didech for removing this barrier for trans Illinoisans who pursue public service.”

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