The advisory referendum carries no weight of law, but its sponsors hope overwhelming approval of the ballot measure would spur the Democratically controlled legislature to raise the state's minimum wage from its current rate of $8.25 per hour, perhaps as early as the 'lame duck' session which follows the November election.
It could also help Quinn, who faces a tough re-election fight against Republican nominee Bruce Rauner, politically by appealling to his Democratic base and perhaps getting more of his supporters to the polls on election day.
The minimum wage issue is controversial because its opponents say it would cost jobs in a weak job economy. An analysis by the non-partisan General Accounting Office found raising the federal minimum wage would boost incomes for low wage workers and lift many above the poverty line, but would also cost the economy hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Voters could also see measures on the November ballot which would impose term limits on state legislators and reform how legislative districts are drawn to prevent 'gerrymandering' meant to benefit incumbants or one political party over another. Both those Constitutional Amendments would have the force of law and are facing legal challenges.
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