While States Restrict Voting, Illinois Expands Access

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed Senate Bill 825 Thursday, which aims at expanding voting access throughout the state.

The bill would also move the March 15 primary in 2022 back to June 28 as the state experiences delays in the new Census numbers due to COVID-19.

The bill includes making curbside voting a permanent fixture of elections, creates polling places in jails to allow those waiting for trial to vote and would make the Nov. 8, 2022 general election a state holiday, as it was in 2020.

It would also make voting by mail easier by creating a permanent vote-by-mail list of those who want a mail-in ballot for every election and would create a process for voters to request to be on that list.

“With attacks on voting rights on the rise in states across the nation, Illinois is proud to stand up for a strong, secure, and accessible democracy,” Pritzker said in a statement.

“This legislation articulates the rights of Illinois citizens to vote by mail, allows those awaiting trial to cast their ballots, and makes a state holiday of Election Day 2022. I want to thank sponsors Senate President Don Harmon and Representative Maurice West, as well as the Women’s Legislative Caucus leadership, and county clerks across the state for their commitment to protecting the fundamental right to vote.”

“This keeps in place a number of voter conveniences that have proven popular,” said Senate President Don Harmon. “It’s a great example of lawmakers listening to the diverse voices of voters and taking steps to maintain and encourage voter participation.”

Several states have passed or are considering passing legislation that will ultimately make it harder for people to cast ballots in future elections.

According to the Brennan Center, between January 1 and May 14, 2021, at least 14 states enacted 22 new laws restricting access to the vote.


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