With just a few days until Sangamon County’s consolidated general election, local voters will now have the opportunity to capitalize on a new state law.
On Friday, Gov. JB Pritzker signed House Bill 1871, which expands vote-by-mail and curbside voting for all future elections.
“Voting is the most fundamental right of our democracy and must continue to be widely available and accessible to everyone and the passage of HB 1871 provides more opportunities for safe and secure voting,” Democratic Sen. Doris Turner, of Springfield, told The State Journal-Register on Saturday. “An overwhelming number of people in Sangamon County are taking advantage of absentee voting, and I am pleased that the curbside boxes utilized during the November election have remained an option. Fortunately, now that option and others will always be available not only in Sangamon County but in every county in Illinois.”
The new law, which went into effect immediately, revises the state election code to allow election authorities to install drop box sites where voters can submit mail ballots without postage before and on Election Day. Election officials can also allow for curbside voting for individuals to cast ballots from their car under the supervision of election judges from both parties and poll watchers.
“Your vote is your voice and I think there should be as many options as possible to ensure that everyone’s voice is heard as loudly and as clearly as possible,” Turner said.
The bill, introduced in the Senate by state Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Lake Forest, also requires election authorities to accept mail-in ballots with insufficient or no postage.
Under the law, Illinois is now able to use federal funds distributed to states for election administration through the 2002 Help America Vote Act to create and maintain secure collection sites for mail ballots.
“We saw during the November 2020 General Election how many people enjoyed having a more safe, accessible and easier way to vote,” Morrison said in a statement. “Just because the pandemic is winding down, doesn’t mean expanded voters’ rights have to.”
The SJ-R’s Natalie Pierre ([email protected]) contributed to this report.
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