The State Universities Retirement System (SURS) will hold a board election April 1 – May 3, 2021, to fill four expiring trustee positions: two annuitant seats and two active-participant seats. An impartial election services company, YesElections, will conduct the election. Candidate packets and petition forms are available from SURS. Candidates should contact Kelly Carson at [email protected] for information. Applications are due Dec. 31, 2020. Completed petitions will be due to SURS on Jan. 31, 2021.

All SURS members are encouraged to consider running for a trustee position.

Secure electronic signature petitions are currently available through the YesElections website. Candidates who plan to run in the 2021 Trustee Election and ask to be added to the SURS electronic petitions page will appear on the YesElections website. Candidates may then send members an email with a link to the YesElections electronic petition site. Not all candidates will circulate electronic petitions so not all candidates will appear on the YesElections website.

To sign an electronic petition, members will log in to the YesElections site using the last four digits of their Social Security number and SURS Member ID number. YesElections will verify Member ID numbers and eligibility to sign before members receive access to the electronic petitions site page. This is a secure site. To learn more about YesElections’ state-of-the-art security go to –

Members may also access electronic petitions via SURS secure Member Website. To access the site, click the Member Website Login button in the upper right-hand corner of SURS homepage, then click the “Board of Trustees Nominations” link which is located in the right-hand tool bar under “Quick Links.”

There is no limit to the number of electronic petitions members can sign provided they are eligible. Electronic petitions will be available until 4:30 p.m. Jan. 31, 2021.

Members may be asked to sign hard copy petitions instead of electronic petitions. Both are valid options.

The SURS Board of Trustees consists of 11 trustees. Four trustees are elected by active SURS members, two are elected by retired SURS members, and five are appointed by the governor of Illinois (one of whom is the chairperson of the Illinois Board of Higher Education). The governor designates the board chairperson from among the 11 trustees.

The following trustees’ terms expire in July 2021:

  • Annuitant Trustee Mitchell Vogel
  • Annuitant Trustee J. Fred Giertz
  • Active-Member Trustee Aaron Ammons
  • Active-Member Trustee Antonio Vasquez

The two active-member trustee terms are six-year terms. One annuitant trustee term is a six-year term, and the other is a three-year term created by the years left in an unexpired six-year term. Annuitant candidates must declare the term they are seeking when they request a candidate packet, and can only circulate petitions for the term they choose. Annuitant ballots will indicate which candidates are running for each of the separate terms.

The voting period will be April 1 through May 3, 2021, with results announced May 5, 2021. Active-member candidates will be added to the ballot after obtaining 400 signatures from eligible SURS participants either via hard copy original petitions, online electronic petitions or a combination of both. Annuitant candidates will be added to the ballot after obtaining 100 signatures from eligible SURS annuitants either via hard copy original petitions, online electronic petitions or a combination of both. All candidates must also complete an application and submit a bio and photo.

State Law Limits Number of Trustees with Ties to U of I
According to state law, the SURS board can have a maximum of one annuitant trustee and two active-member trustees who are employed by or retired from the University of Illinois (all campuses). This election will be complicated by the fact that one of the open annuitant seats is for an unexpired term. This will require SURS to hold two concurrent annuitant elections for two differing-length terms. A new rule has been implemented to address this situation. If the highest vote-getters in the full six-year term annuitant election and in the unexpired term annuitant election are both affiliated with the U of I campuses – the U of I affiliated candidate who wins the six-year term election will be declared the winner and the U of I affiliated candidate in the unexpired term election will be disqualified. The next-highest, non-U of I affiliated vote-getter in the unexpired term annuitant election will be declared the winner of that election.

All eligible SURS members will receive a ballot along with candidate information on or before April 1, 2021. Members will be able to vote by returning a paper ballot in a postage-paid envelope, by phone or online. Voting will be handled directly through the election services company.

The SURS Board of Trustees meets quarterly, with additional committee meetings scheduled throughout the year. Trustees are also required to meet certain annual ethics, legislative and fiduciary training as well as complete eight hours of educational conferences on investments and public pension administration.

SURS Election Process Dates:
Oct. 1, 2020Candidate packets and petition forms available
Contact: [email protected]
Oct. 1, 2020 – Jan. 31, 2021Petition circulation period
Nov. 30, 2020 – Jan. 31, 2021Online electronic petitions available
Dec. 31, 2020Candidate applications due
Jan. 31, 2021Petitions due
Jan. 31 – Feb. 5, 2021Petitions validated
March 22, 2021Election materials mailed to members without a valid email with SURS
April 1, 2021Election materials emailed to members with a valid email with SURS
April 1 – May 3, 2021Voting period
May 3, 2021Election Day – All ballots due
May 5, 2021Election results announced
July 15, 2021Trustee terms begin