Alexi's Priorities

We need to rebuild trust in our public institutions, trust in our elected officials and trust in each other.

Government has prioritized the interests of the powerful and wealthy over the welfare of the majority, resulting in a lack of trust and confidence in our elected officials, especially among those with less means and people of color who have been left out and alienated by the status quo.

Millions of Americans lack basic economic security to live their day-to-day lives because they have been denied their fair share of opportunity to make a better future for their families.

Now more than ever, we need good people, committed to true public service, to step up, get involved and serve the public for the right reasons. I’m running because I wholeheartedly believe in public service, which is guided by the principle of rebuilding that trust.

Protecting Voter Rights

With Republican Secretaries of State across the nation seeking to disenfranchise voters with restrictive voter suppression laws that make it more difficult to register and cast ballots, I’m committed to advancing initiatives that will expand voter rights and make voting easier and more convenient.

Also, as a custodian of the State’s Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) system, I will make sure that access to registering to vote and individual rights at the ballot box are safeguarded and that AVR is implemented fairly, accurately and securely to expand voting opportunities.

Increase Registration Efforts

In an effort to increase the number of registered voters, I’ve proposed a change to the state’s Automatic Voter Registration system by implementing a backend system, which would automatically add eligible voters to the rolls without requiring additional steps on the part of the voter during their visit to a driver’s license facility.

Illinois currently administers a front-end AVR system that offers people the opportunity to “opt out” and not register while visiting a driver’s license facility. I’ve joined other voting rights advocates want Illinois to implement a back-end system, which would automatically add eligible voters, who present a document demonstrating their citizenship, to the rolls without requiring additional steps on the part of the voter at the counter.

In back-end systems, eligible voters are automatically registered and are given the opportunity to decline after they leave the driver’s license facility, which is done by mail after their voting status is confirmed by an election authority. Every newly registered voter would receive a prepaid postcard notifying them that they are registered and could send back, opting out from registering if they choose.

Six states with AVR systems have adopted back-end systems – and have not only increased the number of eligible voters but have experienced higher turnout as well.

Pre-Registration for Teens

To increase registration and boost voter turnout among our young people, I’m proposing that Illinois to give 16- and 17-year-olds the ability to pre-register to vote and become automatically registered upon turning 18. This program would be linked with the AVR system so when young people come into to apply for their driver’s licenses or state IDs, they can preregister to vote.

Toughening Ethics Laws

Illinoisians are sick and tired of the corruption and scandals that have become all too common in our state. Despite efforts to tighten ethics laws, elected officials, lobbyists and political insiders have continued to find ways to skirt the rules and enrich themselves, families and friends.

As Secretary of State, I’ll end the corruption tax. The Secretary of State’s office maintains lobbyist registrations and statements of economic interest – commonly known as ethics statements – that public officials file with the office. My plan will:

  • Prohibit Elected Officials from Serving as Lobbyists: Giannoulias supports initiatives that would ban elected officials from lobbying local governments
  • Close the Revolving Door: Enact a tough “revolving door” policy – of two years – to prevent state lawmakers from working as lobbyists immediately after they leave the Legislature.
  • Create Lobbyist Database:  Establish a statewide, searchable database for the public to access lobbyist information and activity at all levels of state and local government with regularly updated registration and expenditure reports from lobbyists and clients.
  • Avoid Conflicts:  Require state lawmakers who have a personal or private interest in legislation to disclose potential conflicts and prohibit outside employment that creates potential conflicts with their government work.
  • Provide More Disclosure: Require elected officials to reveal potential conflicts by mandating that their Statements of Economic Interest report outside sources of income, business relationships, ranges of the amount they get paid and from whom. In addition, require strict monitoring and penalties for failing to disclose any interests.
  • Expand Inspector General Authority: Expand the powers of the inspectors general in state government and in the Legislature to give them more independence, subpoena power and additional resources to pro-actively investigate issues and eliminate corruption.

Modernizing the Office

Modernizing the Secretary of State’s office is a top priority. COVID-19 and the recent surge for Real IDs have forced changes in how the office needs to operate and delivers services to improve the customer experience.

Modernizing the office will also help guarantee greater access and equitable service for all Illinois residents. It will also help reduce the “time tax,” or the amount of time Illinoisians spend making special trips during work hours, waiting in line, filling out forms or holding on the phone to obtain services.

I will make more services and programs available remotely and online and ensure contactless options are available for those who choose to visit Secretary of State facilities. As part of that effort, I will:

  • Implement a Skip-the-Line Program: Last year, we announced a new program designed to cut wait times at Illinois driver’s license facilities. We plan to make our “Skip the Line” program available at every SOS facility across Illinois, allowing drivers to schedule an appointment by visiting the Secretary of State’s website or, for those who prefer, calling the office. After scheduling an appointment, residents will receive a text message confirming their appointment with a link to check in upon arrival, allowing them to enter at the scheduled time and skip the line. Seniors and others with special needs would be given priority, regardless of whether or not they schedule an appointment. In addition to making the process more convenient for customers, the scheduling component will also make it easier and more efficient for employees.
  • Push for Digital Driver’s License: Allowing for digital driver’s licenses and state identification cards on people’s phones will make it more convenient for Illinoisans to update their information remotely and avoid an in-person visit to a facility. I will draft legislation and encourage Illinois lawmakers to approve it during my first year in office.
  • Make More Remote Services Available: I also plan to: 
    • Introduce a Secretary of State’s office app that would allow residents to upload documents in advance and receive notifications and reminders about renewals and appointments, and access services and program and access online to avoid in-person visits
    • Offer digital assistance that people can access through an app on their phone that would walk them through a task – step by step – to provide them guidance and ensure their questions are answered
    • Guarantee neighborhood access by making more Secretary of State’s office programs and support available at pop up offices and available to local libraries in Chicago and throughout the state.
  • Establish Office “Advocates”:
    I plan to offer more assistance online, over the phone or in person, especially for seniors, those who don’t speak English and for others who need special assistance. My plan is to assign an “office advocate” who will help individuals throughout the entire process to make sure they get the help and services that they need from the time they walk in or call the office up until they have everything they need.

Enhancing the Libraries

I plan to implement a universal License to Read program to improve access to libraries, add educational programs, provide more digital services online and find new ways to bring more people together, especially in communities that need those services most. 

Unfortunately, the pandemic revealed stark differences in the digital divide that must be narrowed to improve access and equity throughout the state. Our program would also encourage more sharing of resources and materials between libraries and also expand after-school activities for students who need additional help with their homework or tutoring.

We must also ensure libraries remain havens of free speech and trust librarians, not extremists, with what to put on shelves. My office will take action against far right attempts to ban books that help children learn and grow.

Providing Second Chances

I would push the State to begin providing ex-offenders with valid state identification cards before their release from prison. Ensuring newly released inmates have an authorized and recognized state identification card once they complete their sentences will help reduce recidivism and make it easier to reintegrate into society, especially when it comes to establishing a residency and finding a job.

Cracking Down on Scam Artists

The Securities Division in the Secretary of State’s Office regulates the investment industry in Illinois, investigating complaints of fraud and registering brokers. I will add more resources and increase the number of investigators, auditors and examiners and enhance financial literacy programs to protect everyday investors from those who prey on them and try to steal their savings. All of which come at a cost-neutral or net revenue gain for that Division.

Enhancing Business Services

I will strengthen the Secretary of State’s Business Services Division to make it easier for minority-owned business owners – to start a business and cut through the layers of red-tape, which will reduce costs and get them up and running more quickly and enable them to hire workers.

Making Roads Safer

I will make our roads safer places for both motorists and police officers in repealing an existing state law, which prohibits drivers from hanging items from a vehicle’s rear view. Illinois is one of just a handful of states that ban items from hanging from a vehicle’s rear-view mirror or affixed to a windshield on the grounds that they obstruct a motorist’s vision. The current law allows police to stop motorists for minor vehicle code offenses, but in many cases those encounters can lead to verbal or physical confrontations with deadly consequences for both motorists and officers.

Fighting Climate Change

I’m passionate about the environment and doing more to pass legislation that would force people and large companies to change behavior and act more responsibly when it comes to protecting the environment.  As State Treasurer, I was on the forefront of launching clean energy initiatives. I launched Green Rewards, the largest state-backed rebate program for fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles in the nation. My office also created the “Green Energy” program to spur development, which incentivized businesses that would “go green” independently or through energy efficiency programs by awarding them state-backed interest rate reductions on their loans to expand or start a business and hire more workers. I will continue these efforts as Secretary of State, encouraging incentives aimed at making electronic vehicles more affordable and access to additional charging stations throughout the entire state.

Easing the Burden on those who Can Least Afford It

I will continue to support legislation that prohibited the state and municipalities from suspending the driver’s licenses of drivers who fail to pay parking tickets and other fines, which was signed into law earlier this year. The suspensions disproportionately affect low-income drivers who need their cars to get to work and earn the money to earn a living.

Implementing In-Office Policies

One of my goals at Secretary of State is to recalibrate how government prioritizes office culture by putting people first and turning intent into action. I plan to implement the following:

  • Create Opportunities for Women and Minority Businesses: By executive order, I will require that the Secretary of State’s office adhere to Illinois’ Business Enterprise Program (BEP) and expand opportunities for women and minority businesses to enter into contracts with the State. I would also closely monitor contractors’ commitments to hiring minorities and women and undertake a disparity study aimed at identifying ways to increase the pools of prime and sub-contractors throughout the State.
  • Develop and Implement a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Plan: I will develop an inclusive culture that includes more decision making, opportunity and innovation while encouraging more input from workers.
  • Hire a Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer: This individual would play a critical role in shaping the public service workforce and how the office interacts with customers while optimizing organizational culture and aligning diversity and inclusion goals.
  • Create Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Report: I intend to hold the office accountable and show tangible results on an annual basis by issuing an annual report.