Alexi Giannoulias: 2022 candidate for Illinois Secretary of State
Office sought: Illinois Secretary of State
Occupation: Founder and CEO, Annoula Ventures
Previous offices held: Illinois State Treasurer (2007-2011)
Q: How efficiently do you think the Secretary of State's office operates currently. What, if anything, would you do to streamline the office?
A: Secretary of State Jesse White has done a great job of modernizing services and cleaning up an office that had been mired in corruption.
However, the pandemic has demonstrated we must make changes to better serve the public and deliver services faster and more efficiently. As Secretary of State, I will:
• Introduce our "Skip the Line" program will allow drivers to schedule an appointment online and enable them to move to the front of the line for service when they arrive.
• Allow for digital driver's licenses and state identification cards on people's phones.
• Introduce an app so people can upload documents in advance and receive notifications about renewals and appointments to avoid fees.
• Guarantee neighborhood access by making more programs and support available at pop-up offices and local libraries.
• Offer more assistance, especially for seniors, for those who don't speak English and others who need special assistance to make sure they get the help and services that they need.
Q: How would you rate customer service at secretary of state branch offices? If you think it needs improvements, how would you make them?
A: The Secretary of State's offices act as retail operations, providing service to customers -- just like stores and restaurants -- and need to always improve the customer experience.
My Skip the Line program will enable people to head to the front of the line when they arrive, cutting the amount of time people waste waiting in line or filling out forms.
Also, by obtaining services digitally through an app and allowing customers to upload documents ahead of their appointments, wait times will drop.
I also intend to look at increase the number of facilities in populated areas that currently do not have suitable and access to services and where it makes the most sense to do so.
This is especially critical when considering senior and other communities who do not have access to online services and feel more comfortable with in-person appointments.
Q: Do you consider elections in Illinois free, fair and secure? What, if anything, needs to be done to improve security or voter access?
A: With Secretaries of State across the nation seeking to disenfranchise voters with restrictive voter suppression laws that make it more difficult to register and cast ballots, I am committed to protecting voter rights here in Illinois and expanding registration opportunities.
As a custodian of the state's Automatic Voter Registration (AVR) system, I will make sure that access to registering to vote and individual rights at the ballot box are safeguarded and that AVR is implemented fairly, accurately and securely to expand voting opportunities and encourage turnout.
I will also push to allow teens who are 16- and 17-year-olds to have the option of pre-registering to vote so they will be automatically become registered upon turning 18
Q: What personal background and experiences particularly qualify you for the role of secretary of state?
A: As the only candidate who has served statewide, I have managed hundreds of employees and represented the entire state.
As Treasurer, I implemented policies and programs that helped all Illinois by cracking down on ethical abuses, generating jobs and safely investing taxpayer dollars.
On my first day as Treasurer, I banned my campaign from taking contributions from contractors, banks and office employees, eliminating pay-to-play. I also authored legislation to stop credit card companies from using deceptive marketing tactics that prey on college students.
And I wasn't afraid to pull the state's $8 billion investment portfolio from Wells Fargo when it planned to shut down Des Plaines-based Hartmarx and liquidate 1,000 jobs, which helped save the company.
In 2011, I was appointed chairman of the Illinois Community College System. I also have private sector experience, helping BNY Mellon establish itself in Illinois and starting my own company that has helped Illinois-based start ups.