Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Why are there two elections for the same Illinois Senate seat?
A: The election is for the same seat but for two different terms. The regular race is for a six-year term that starts on January 3, 2011. The special election is to fill out the remainder of the Senate term that President Barack Obama was originally elected to in 2004. The federal court ordered the special election in response to a law suit.
Q: Was a primary held to select candidates for the interim Senate election?
A: No. A judge ruled against having a primary due to cost and time restrictions.
Q: Since there wasn't a primary, how were the candidates selected for the interim Senate election?
A: A judge determined the candidates who qualified for the General Election by winning the February 2 primary – Democratic candidate Alexi Giannoulias, Republican candidate Mark Kirk and Green Party candidate LeAlan Jones – will also compete in the special election. Independent candidates for Senate who appear on the ballot for the full-term contest will also be on the ballot for the temporary seat.
Q: How much does it cost to have the interim Senate race on the ballot?
A: This special election should cost nothing. The contest is on the same ballot as the regularly- scheduled Nov. 2, 2010 General Election, so no additional costs are anticipated.
Q: When will the interim Senator take office?
A: The U.S. Senate will decide when to seat the interim Senator.
Q: How long will the interim Senator serve?
A: The winner of the special election will serve less than two months, from when he is seated by the United States Senate until the winner of the full term contest is sworn in on January 3, 2011.
Q: Do I have to vote for an interim and a full-term candidate for Senate?
A: No. Like any other election, you only need vote in the contests you choose.
Q: If I do vote for both races, do I need to vote for the same person?
A: No. You may vote for whomever you choose.
Q: Will the races appear on the same or different ballots?
A: Both contests will appear on the same ballot.
Q: Which race will appear first on the ballot?
A: The race for the full six-year Senate seat will appear first on the ballot. The special Senate contest will immediately follow.
Q: Will both races be available during early and absentee voting?
A: Yes, both races will appear on all ballots, including those used during early voting and those mailed to absentee voters.
Q: Will both races be available on paper and touch screen ballots?
A: Yes, both races will be available on optical scan paper ballots as well as touch screen ballots.