By Monica Stabile

New legislation in Illinois would require candidates for the president of the United States to file federal income tax returns with the state.

The bill comes as Republicans in Congress vote down a Democrat-backed resolution that would have formally requested President Donald Trump to release his tax returns. It’s one of a handful of other bills filed in the Illinois General Assembly aimed at transforming the election code.

Senate Bill 762 would require presidential candidates to file their last five years’ tax returns with the Illinois State Board of Elections. Sponsored by Sen. Omar Aquino, D-Chicago, and Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanston, the bill would require the board to publish the tax returns on its website from Sept. 1 until Dec. 31.

Presidential candidates would not appear on the ballot unless they receive a certificate acknowledging completion of the disclosure requirement. Any votes for a presidential candidate without a certificate would be void until the candidate files tax returns. The legislation awaits a committee vote.

A separate bill would encourage more use of the state’s public campaign financing system with the promise of a tax deduction.  Sponsored by Sen. Cristina Castro, D-Elgin, Senate Bill 835, the Clean Elections Act would create an individual tax return checkoff for constituents who donate money to candidates running for statewide offices and the General Assembly.

Sen. Daniel Biss, D-Evanson, is sponsoring another bill that would allow voters to rank their choices for candidates running for the General Assembly and for statewide offices. Rank-choice voting would only be used during general or special elections, when there are more than two candidates listed on the ballot. The candidate with the least number of votes would be eliminated and there would be another round of vote tallying until a winner is announced. For more information about Senate Bill 780, read here.

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