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A federal court says voting districts drawn by Wisconsin Republicans are unconstitutional.

The ruling issued Monday is a major victory for Democrats who have been in the minority for six years and lost ground in this year's election.

A three-judge panel tossed maps drawn by Republican lawmakers five years ago, saying they violate the voting rights of Democrats.

The maps divide Wisconsin into 99 Assembly and 33 Senate districts. A dozen voters sued last year, arguing that the boundaries discriminated against Democrats by diluting their voting power.

http://www.ci.freeport.il.us/

Freeport Mayor Jim Gitz says it’s time to make way for new leaders. He announced Thursday he will NOT run for re-election. 

Gitz was elected in 2013: he also served two terms as mayor, from 1997 - 2005. Gitz says he’s ready for a career change and had made up his mind before Tuesday’s election. That’s when Freeport voters decided to change to a city manager style government, making their mayor a part-time position.  

Republican Frank Haney won the race for Winnebago County Chairman over Democrat John Nelson.  With all precincts reporting, Haney beat Nelson by nearly seven thousand votes.  

Nelson led from the start and for much of the evening.  He amassed a big numerical margin in Rockford but Haney built a lead in the rest of the county as the night wore on to first narrow the gap and then surpass Nelson. 

Incumbent Chairman Scott Christiansen did not seek re-election. 

NPR

Donald Trump captured crucial victories over Hillary Clinton in Florida, Ohio and North Carolina, showing remarkable strength Tuesday night in three of the nation’s most fiercely fought battleground states in an unexpectedly tight race for the presidency.

Clinton carried Virginia and Colorado, as well as California, the nation’s largest prize. With a handful of other states still undecided, neither candidate had cleared the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

The General Election is under way, and the links below will take you to the sites for voting results on each contest in each jurisdiction.

Some links may not be available immediately if they have not been activated by the election authority.

Click on the county or city name to view election results as reported by the election authority.

More information on various election contests and referenda is available on our special elections page, Elections 2016.

Illinois

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Republican challenger Rick Amato won the race for DeKalb County State’s Attorney against incumbent Richard Schmack.

Amato had about 60 percent of the vote. He says he is humbled by the support.

Amato says he has been in the area since he was a student in the mid-1990s and previously served as assistant state’s attorney for the county.

Voters Tuesday rejected all five local referenda in Winnebago County.

The biggest margin was against the Roscoe proposal to add a 1 percent sales tax for public infrastructure. Almost 70 percent voted no.

The Shirland Township Road District property tax increase was opposed by 66 percent. It would have added $33 to the annual tax bill of a $100,000 home.

Landmarks Illinois

Freeport residents voted in favor of changing the city’s form of government from one run by a full-time mayor and city council to one with a city manager running city operations as chief executive.

The measure calling for the change won with 53 percent in favor vs. 47 percent against.  The measure had been backed by a number of businesses and the local chamber of Commerce.  They argued a city the size of Freeport needed a full-time professional running day-to-day operations, and said it would free up the mayor and council to concentrate more on strategic planning.

Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth wins the Illinois Senate race, AP projects. She defeats GOP Sen. Mark Kirk, who made a series of gaffes in a race where he was already at a significant disadvantage, given the heavy Democratic tilt of the state.

It’s an important -- but hardly unexpected -- pick-up for Democrats and gives them their first net Senate seat of the night. Democrats need to flip five Senate seats -- or four if Clinton wins the White House -- and this gets them part of the way there. It topped our list of likely Democratic Senate pick-ups all year.

Two Democratic incumbents in the Illinois House are falling behind their Republican challengers in Tuesday's voting.

In the 71st District, two-term incumbent Democrat Mike Smiddy is trailing well behind challenger Republican Tony McCombie, the mayor of Savanna and a real-estate professional.

With 97 of 106 precincts reporting, the results are:
Tony McCombie (R), 28,921
Mike Smiddy (D), 17,345

GOP Sweeps All Four Area State Senate Races

Nov 8, 2016

Four seats in the Illinois Senate are being contested in the WNIJ listening area.

In District 25, incumbent Republican Jim Oberweis has again defeated Democrat Connie Pierog, who lost to him by a wide margin in 2012.

Pierog is a business consultant who has served more than seven years on the St. Charles School Board. Oberweis is the owner of Oberweis Dairy and various other businesses.

With all 154 precincts reporting, the count stands at:
Jim Oberweis (R), 53,111
Connie Pierog (D), 43,250

The Illinois U.S. House 6th District race features Republican incumbent Peter Roskam and Democratic challenger Amanda Howland.

With 13% of precincts reporting, the count stands at:

Peter Roskam (R), 35,580 (59% -- called winner)

Amanda Howland (D), 24,236 (41%)

Republican Pete DiCianni and Democrat Raja Krishnamurthi are vying for incumbent Tammy Duckworth’s Illinois U.S. House 8th District seat. Duckworth is running for U.S. Senate.

With 35% of precincts reporting, the count stands at:

state of Illinois

With less than 24 hours until Election Day, gobs of money continues to flow to campaigns for the Illinois statehouse.

Only a fraction of races for the Illinois state House and State Senate are really competitive.

But those that are, are throwing a lot of money toward TV ads.

On Chicago’s Northwest Side, incumbent Republican State Representative Michael McAuliffe brought in $232,000 just in the last week.

That’s almost $100,000 more than his Democratic opponent, Merry Marwig.

WalletHub.com

There is good news and not-so-good news about political engagement in Illinois.

The good news is that Illinois ranked first for Voter Accessibility Policies in the study by wallethub.com.

The not-so-good news is that the Prairie State only ranked 23 out of the 50 states and District of Columbia in overall political engagement.

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

If you’d like to prepare for your votes in the Illinois General Election, WNIJ News offers these links to help you be informed about all the issues.

Compiled below – county by county – are links that will allow you to view the sample ballots that may affect you.

Following those listings are links to the campaign websites of contenders in state and federal primaries.

Boone County

Candidate websites

There wasn't supposed to be an election for a statewide constitutional officer this year.  But Democrats essentially forced one, following the sudden death of Republican Judy Baar Topinka after she'd won the 2014 election for comptroller, but before she'd been inaugurated. 

The race has been expensive and competitive, and it could show who's winning the war of public opinion between Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan.

Who knows what would have happened had Democrats held onto the governor's office in 2014?

Flickr user Pictures of Money / "Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Gov. Bruce Rauner is putting tens of millions of dollars of his personal wealth into campaigns to swing some Illinois General Assembly seats to the Republican side, and Democrats are tapping their big donors -- unions and attorneys -- to match.

A lot of the money is going into small races that you normally wouldn’t hear a lot about.

U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk says it's "disappointing" two groups have withdrawn endorsements. He's trying to fight off a challenge from Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth.

Kirk was a rare Republican to receive recommendations from the Human Rights Campaign, which supports gay rights, and a gun control group led by former congresswoman Gabby Giffords. 

Both pulled their endorsements after Kirk made a wisecrack minimizing the Duckworth family legacy of military service; many critics immediately condemned it as racist. 

Katie Finlon / WNIJ

Taking a selfie at a polling place could be illegal in several states – including Illinois and Wisconsin.

That reminder comes after pop star Justin Timberlake took a selfie at a voting booth in Tennessee.

DeKalb County Clerk Doug Johnson says about 8,000 early votes have been tallied in DeKalb County so far. He says he wants to encourage voter enthusiasm in this election and not scare people, but he says voters must be careful of where they take their post-vote selfies.

More than 4,000 people have voted already in Winnebago County, according to County Clerk Margie Mullins. She says it’s been the highest turnout in all the years of early voting.

And Boone County has ballots from more than 2,100 early voters -- not including ballots that have been mailed out. 

Boone County Clerk and Recorder Mary Steurer says she hopes more people who may be thinking about voting early will beat the potential Election Day crowds.

Committee to Change City Government

A group in Freeport is backing a measure that would place a city manager in charge of the city’s administration.  

Small business owner Pat Leitzen Frye is a former city council member and one-time mayoral candidate. She co-chairs the Committee to Change City Government. Fye says the push for the measure isn’t about particular personalities or policies, but helping the city to work better for everyone.

Democratic Part of Milwaukee County / U.S. Senate

National security issues loom large in Wisconsin's U.S. Senate race between Republican incumbent Ron Johnson and Democratic challenger Russ Feingold.

They disagree on how to fight the Islamic State terrorist group, what to do about Iran, and whether to send U.S. troops into foreign hot spots like Syria.

Johnson tried to portray Feingold as weak on national security. He portrays the former senator as a hypocrite who talks tough on the campaign trail, but cast senate votes that undermined the ability of U.S. troops to succeed.

If Democrats want to retake the U.S. Senate, they'll need Illinois to do it, according to Matt Streb, a political scientist at Northern Illinois University.

The margin is five seats, or four if Hillary Clinton becomes president; that would allow her vice president to cast tie-breaking votes. Right now, polls show Illinois and Wisconsin leaning Democratic with seven other states too close to call.

Susan Stephens / WNIJ

DeKalb County voters will choose their top prosecutor November 8th. State’s Attorney Richard Schmack is being challenged by Republican Rick Amato.

Incumbent Republican U.S Sen. Mark Kirk and Democratic U.S. Rep. Tammy Duckworth covered a variety of issues, including college affordability, how to make Social Security solvent, and the Iran nuclear treaty (Duckworth voted for it, Kirk did not) Thursday in Springfield in their only downstate debate.  

Both agreed that climate change is real, and caused by humans.  They differed on tax policy and Syrian refugees, and, in response to a question about the Common Core, Kirk suggested expanded school days.

Campaign websites, social media

The 69th District covers an area of far northern Illinois and includes the communities of Belvidere, Caledonia, Capron, Cherry Valley, Loves Park, Machesney Park, Roscoe, South Beloit, and Timberlane. Republican Joe Sosnowski has represented the district since 2010.

This year, Sosnowski is being challenged by Democrat Angelique Bodine of Poplar Grove. She says she’s running because of her frustration with the state budget impasse, and she pledges to stand up for working families.

Earlier this month, U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan held a conference call in which he told Republican members that he would no longer defend Donald Trump. The call came three days after Trump appeared in a 2005 video using lewd and insulting language about women.

The Speaker, concerned about losing the House, freed members to disavow Trump or embrace him -- whatever it took to get re-elected.

House Dist. 74: Butts vs. Swanson

Oct 27, 2016

Democrat Bill Butts faces Republican Daniel Swanson in the race for Illinois House of Representatives in District 74. The district includes Galesburg and Kewanee. 

Incumbent Republican Donald L. Moffitt, who has represented the district for 23 years, is not running for re-election.

Senate Dist. 32: Coyne Challenges Althoff

Oct 27, 2016
Illinois General Assembly / Democratic Party of McHenry County

Democrat Melissa Coyne and incumbent Pamela Althoff, a Republican, will face off in next month’s general election for a two-year term representing

House Dist. 66: Skillicorn vs. Zettler

Oct 27, 2016

Republican Allen Skillicorn faces Democrat Nancy Zettler in the race for Illinois House of Representatives in District 66. The district includes Crystal Lake and Huntley, down to Elgin. 

Incumbent Republican Michael W. Tyron, who has represented the district since 2005, is not running for re-election.

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