The Climate Voters’ Handbook: Illinois

The Climate Voters’ Handbook: Illinois

Illinois’s climate future relies on electing climate champions.

Illinois has made tremendous strides toward safeguarding a healthier and more sustainable future. In 2021, landmark climate legislation put us on a path toward 100 percent clean energy, investing in creating clean energy jobs and putting equity at the center of the transition. But there is still work to be done, and we need true climate champions in office to continue the fight for the future of Illinois. And you can help elect them.

Illinois’s U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races are critical to maintaining the state’s recent progress on climate and addressing the many environmental challenges that remain. And since we know that local actions have ripple effects outward, the focus on key House district races is also crucial.

Curbing emissions to fight climate change, furthering the transition to renewable energy, forging healthier communities across the state, and keeping equity and environmental justice at the heart of our movement require strong champions who will listen to the voices of climate-concerned Illinoisians.

Learn more about what’s at stake in Illinois during the midterm elections this November and how you can take action. Click on the links below to head to each section:


THE WHEN: Important dates

Don’t know if you’re registered to vote? Want to request a mail-in ballot? You’re in the right spot to have all your logistical questions answered! Check out this list of key deadlines and resources to make sure you don’t miss the chance to vote by November 8.

Make sure to…
By this deadline
More info
Register to vote
In person and by mail: Tuesday, October 11, 2022
Online: Sunday, October 23, 2022
Check your registration status and learn how to register online, by mail, or in person; also get information about “grace period” voting if you miss the registration deadline!
Early voting
Monday, October 24, 2022–Monday, November 7, 2022
Apply for a mail-in or absentee ballot
By mail: Thursday, November 3, 2022
In person: All in-person early voting requests must be made by Monday, November 7, 2022
Things you should know: Your mail-in ballot must be postmarked by Election Day and received within 14 days after Election Day.
Tuesday, November 8, 2022


THE WHO: Meet the candidates

We must face the climate crisis head-on by electing environmental champions who will put Illinoisians before the profits of polluters. The following candidates have impressive records of fighting for a cleaner, healthier, and more equitable climate future.


Running for governor
Governor of Illinois since 2019

Why we support Pritzker

  • As governor, he took action on climate by putting the state on a path toward 100 percent clean energy while investing in training a diverse workforce for emerging clean energy industries.
  • He pledged to position Illinois as the best state in the nation to manufacture and drive an electric vehicle (EV) by providing incentives to EV manufacturers and EV rebates to consumers.


Running for her second term in the U.S. Senate
Senator for Illinois since 2017. Former House Representative.

Why we support Duckworth

  • In the Senate, Tammy cofounded the first-ever Environmental Justice Caucus, served on the Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis and is a member of the Committee on Environment & Public Works and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
  • She has fought to protect the Great Lakes for clean drinking water, invest in clean energy research, and bring critical attention to issues of environmental injustice.


Running for U.S. House of Representatives (IL-14)
Representative for Illinois since 2019

Why we support Underwood

  • Underwood prioritizes preventing future public health and environmental crises like that of Flint, Michigan, where she worked on the response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She cited clean water and climate change as top concerns in her district.
  • She has helped communities across the country prevent, prepare for, and respond to disasters, bioterror threats, and public health emergencies.


Running for U.S. House of Representatives (IL-06)
Representative for Illinois since 2019

Why we support Casten

  • Casten is a biochemical engineer who has worked for and run multiple companies focused on improving energy efficiency and clean energy technology. He also founded an advocacy organization that represented more than 50 clean energy businesses.
  • He serves on both the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis and House Committee on Science, Space & Technology, and is a co-chair of the New Democrat Coalition Climate Change Task Force.


Running for U.S. House of Representatives (IL-11)
Representative for Illinois since 2013

Why we support Foster

  • Foster is committed to the fight for clean energy research and development. He has called for a comprehensive energy strategy that would increase energy efficiency, expand federal research and development programs, and bring new clean energy products to consumers.


Running for U.S. House of Representatives (IL-17)
Meteorologist running for his first term in Congress

Why we support Sorensen

  • Sorensen understands that climate change is a serious threat and has two decades of experience as a climate communicator. His perspective will be key to the fight in Washington to address climate change, protect our environment, and ensure clean water and air.


Running for U.S. House of Representatives (IL-13)
Seasoned public servant and former Biden administration official running for her first term in Congress

Why we support Budzinski

  • Budzinski wants to make America a leader in clean energy, creating jobs and reducing our dependence on energy from abroad.
  • In Congress, she would provide more funding and resources for clean air and clean water in our communities and strengthen federal air and water protections.
  • She is committed to expanding training for workers to meet future demand for solar and wind and provide new work and career opportunities in high-paying, high-growth jobs in Illinois.

Important note: This election cycle, the NRDC Action Fund focused on endorsements for key federal and gubernatorial races. We know there are other important races on the ballot, so we encourage you to seek out other trusted resources to help you learn about candidates in races we have not covered.

THE HOW: Take action

In the last few years, Illinois has made tremendous strides toward a better climate future for all. Let’s ensure that the champions who will drive change for Illinois are elected! Here are a few ways you can get involved:

Share this voter guide on social media
Make sure your friends and family in Illinois know that the climate is on Illinois’s ballot, and that they have all the info they need to vote for climate champions on November 8.

Share to Facebook. >>
Share to Twitter. >>

Sign up to be a poll worker on Election Day
A sign of a functioning democracy is high voter turnout, but unfortunately, polling places in some states are forced to close due to a lack of poll workers. This makes it much harder for people to vote.

Volunteer with Power the Polls to make sure every polling location stays open and every voter has a chance to cast their ballot. >>

Connect with our climate activist community on Slack!
On our All In for Climate Action Slack channel, you’ll find other people who care just as much about protecting our planet’s future as you do. From volunteer opportunities (both at home and in person) to campaign updates, this activist community is the best way you can stay active this midterm season.

Join our All In for Climate Action Slack channel! >>

THE RESULTS: As of November 16, 2022

We know that when it comes to fighting climate change and securing a clean and healthy future for everyone, every election counts. This one was no different. Democrats fought hard to retain their majority in the Senate, while Republicans are poised to take narrow control of the House of Representatives.

But a split Congress means leaders from both parties have a responsibility to work together to build a livable future for all. Now it is important to continue to push for equitable climate action and insist that both parties work to deliver a clean energy future. The NRDC Action Fund has a long history of working with bipartisan legislatures to achieve real climate progress. There is tough work ahead—but for now let’s celebrate the new and returning climate champions.

Here are the new and returning climate champions at the helm in Illinois:

  • JB Pritzker has been re-elected as governor.
  • Tammy Duckworth has been re-elected as senator.
  • Sean Casten has been re-elected as representative for District IL-06.
  • Bill Foster has been re-elected as representative for District IL-11.
  • Nikki Budzinski has been elected as representative for District IL-13.
  • Lauren Underwood has been re-elected as representative for District IL-14.
  • Eric Sorensen has been elected as representative for District IL-17.

The following candidates were not elected this year:

  • All our endorsed candidates were elected!

Our journey does not end on Election Day. We will continue to defend the wins and learn from the losses over the last two years. And we hope you will continue to support this work.

Paid for by the NRDC Action Fund and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.