Do This Illinois GOP, Or Just Shut It Down

Restoring accountability through a real vote will energize this party immediately. No one is saying restoring direct elections for the state party is a cure-all. Absolutely not. But I will definitely say it’s a necessary, if not a sufficient condition, to get the Illinois Republican Party out of the ditch.

Who Supports and WHO Opposes Restoring Direct Elections

View a list of public/party officials, civic leaders, grassroots leaders, and candidates who SUPPORT and OPPOSE giving every Republican in Illinois the right to vote for their representatives to the Republican State Central Committee.

Frequently Asked Questions

Below are answers to some of the most-asked questions about direct elections for the members of the Illinois Republican State Central Committee. If you can’t find your question below, feel free to contact us at

What is the State Central Committee?

A state central committee is essentially the leader of a political party at the state level, and both the Republican and Democratic parties have one. It’s the governing board of the state party. The committee maintains party headquarters, communicates the party’s direction and state level message, and generally assists candidates and local party organizations.

How are members of the state central committee chosen?

Illinois Democrats directly elect the members of their state central committee during their primary election every 4 years. The Republican Party also used to directly elect its state central committee, but in the 1980s party bosses took the direct vote away from Republican voters. Republican state central committeepersons are now chosen via county conventions by a relatively small number of committeepersons elected at the county party level. State central committee members of both parties serve four-year terms.

Is it true that every Republican in Illinois had the right to directly elect his or her representative at the State Party but that right to vote was taken away from them by party bosses?

Yes. Every Republican in Illinois used to have the right to directly elect his or her state central committeeperson, but party bosses took that right away from us in the 1980s in a selfish power grab. Under pressure from then-Governor Jim Thompson and allies, the General Assembly revised the Election Code in 1984 to offer an alternative method of picking a state party’s central committee. Until the 1984 revision, both Republicans and Democrats elected one male and one female committeeperson from each congressional district during the primary election. The 1984 revision added a second option: one state central committeeperson from each congressional district who would be selected during county conventions. The Democratic Party chose to keep the original method which allows all of its voters to elect one female and one male from each congressional district during the primary election. Republican Party bosses changed the law to create the new option because they wanted to consolidate power by taking away the vote, and thus the voice, of rank-and-file Republicans in their own state party. Following the 1984 power grab, 99.99% of Republican voters no longer have a vote for their representative on the Illinois Republican Party’s governing board.

Are there any legitimate arguments AGAINST restoring direct elections for the members of the Illinois Republican Party’s state central committee?

No. When Illinois Republican Party bosses consolidated power they got what they wanted: the ability to ignore the party platform and make shady deals with Democrats free from worry of any meaningful opposition by the State Party. Eliminating direct elections for the members of the State Central Committee turned that governing board into a submissive rubberstamp. Illinois has been a Blue State ever since the Illinois Republican Party was taken away from Republican voters. When Republican voters were disenfranchised, when our voices were taken away, it’s hardly surprising that accountability was also lost.

Is new legislation needed to restore direct elections for Illinois Republicans?

No. Under Illinois law as currently written, we can restore the vote for ALL Republicans by majority vote of the delegates at any state convention. State Parties are required by law to hold a state convention every four years. The next scheduled Illinois Republican Party State Convention is not until 2024. However, the Illinois Republican Party’s state central committee could call for a special state convention where the delegates could restore direct elections THIS year. Given the dead-in-the-water condition of the Illinois Republican Party, we urge such action THIS year. Nothing would energize Illinois Republicans like restoring the vote that never should have been taken away from them in the first place.