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Elections omnibus bill clears Senate on final passage

Friday, May 22, 2020

* Press release…

The Illinois Senate approved an expanded vote-by-mail program that has garnered increased popularity across the state and country amid public health concerns over voting and elections during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Senate President Don Harmon voted for the expanded vote-by-mail program and issued the following statement:

“This is an overdue step toward modern convenience and safety in our elections,” said Harmon. “It’s unfortunate it took a global pandemic to convince people of its value, but expanding vote by mail is a needed election reform that I hope voters will utilize.”

Under the proposal:

    · Any person who has voted in the past two years (2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election) would receive an application for a ballot in their mailbox.

    · Any person who registered to vote after the 2020 Primary Election would also receive an application.

    · General Election Day, November 3, 2020, would be a state holiday.

This does not preclude in-person voting opportunities on and/or before Election Day.

The legislation is SB1863.
After the Senate’s 37-19 vote, the legislation’s next destination is the governor’s desk.

* Citizen Action/Illinois…

“This bill is an important step to protect people’s right to vote,” said Julie Sampson, co-director of Citizen Action/Illinois. “The coronavirus outbreak upended elections elsewhere and caused confusion for voters when polling places closed. With these reforms, Illinoisans can vote by mail, in the language of their choice, without risking potential exposure to COVID-19. Sending the registered voters an application to vote by mail is the least we can do.”

* Press release…

“The reforms in this law are an important first step toward ensuring that no voter has to risk their health in order to exercise their right to vote in November,” said Just Democracy Chair and Common Cause Illinois Executive Director Jay Young. “We are particularly pleased that, as our coalition has called for, the law keeps these emergency changes temporary to avoid any permanent obstacles to voting. However, advocates and election officials will need to act decisively to address some important gaps left out of this law.”

Coalition members raised several remaining challenges, including:

    • The law falls short of protecting access to limited English proficient voters. Ballot applications and educational materials must be accessible to all citizens.
    • The law does not direct officials to consider community input when closing or consolidating polling places, decisions that land with greater impact on communities of color.
    • The law doesn’t protect the rights of voters facing the gravest health threats - including those in nursing homes, jails, and hospitals - or even require local election authorities to give public notice of procedures for these communities.

Nothing from opponents in my email.

…Adding… AARP IL…

“Older Illinoisans should not have to risk their lives or their health to exercise their right to vote,” said Bob Gallo, State Director of AARP Illinois. “With voters set to go to the polls on November 3, we believe that Illinois should take action now to ensure that all registered voters can cast their ballots safely. […]

“These are challenging times for all Illinois residents,” Gallo said. “ Older adults in this state must be able to rely on their elected officials for leadership to ensure that the largest voting bloc in our population, the 50+ voter, can continue to have a safe and secure way to exercise their right to vote during this unprecedented time.”

* Governor…

“The right to vote is the foundational pillar of our democracy — and, now, as our elected leaders are making some of the most consequential decisions of our lifetimes, it’s more important than ever that people have every ability to make their voices heard,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I applaud Leader Kelly Burke, Senator Julie Morrison, the Women’s Caucus and leaders in the General Assembly for working to ensure Illinoisans can continue to exercise their right to vote during these unprecedented times. Sending vote-by-mail applications to residents who have participated in recent elections will allow more people to vote from the safety of their own homes and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. I look forward to signing this legislation when it reaches my desk and I encourage all eligible voters to exercise their right to vote at every available opportunity.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - curious ending - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 3:54 pm:

    The House women’s caucus gets the credit for this.

  2. - Candy Dogood - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 4:14 pm:

    ===Nothing from opponents in my email. ====

    Now that it is the law of the land the goal for the GOP should transition to avoiding losing votes.

    Also — since it includes only the 2018 general election instead of also the 2016 general election it creates an interesting impact of the fact that if it’d gone back to 2016 the increased turn out caused by Trump being on the ballot might have helped in GOP congressional districts and GOP competitive house districts.

    I think that they really should have looked at some raw numbers before deciding to be squarely against it. How badly can increased turn out hurt a super minority party?

  3. - Oswego Willy - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 4:40 pm:

    === Nothing from opponents in my email.===

    At this point, framing any opposition seems like the easy way to be seen as voter suppression?

    Maybe the regrouping is trying to figure out how to win elections, lol

  4. - Dance Band on the Titanic - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 4:42 pm:

    ===How badly can increased turn out hurt a super minority party?===

    Quite a bit when the ads blasting GOP incumbents who voted against it hit the mailboxes of those who feel much safer voting by mail instead of in person. Seniors in particular will not appreciate their state legislators arguing they should put their lives at risk to exercise their right to vote.

  5. - Hickory - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 5:12 pm:

    I’m for the bill because of the virus but realized if you are to lazy to go to a poling place you are probably not informed on the issues.

  6. - Been There - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 5:15 pm:

    == Nothing from opponents in my email===
    They wore themselves out bashing Rep Kelly Burke and Sen Julie Morrison on their Facebook pages.

  7. - Mike - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 5:19 pm:

    “to lazy to go to a poling place”

    Have you been living in a cave the last 3 months?

  8. - Rich Miller - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 5:22 pm:

    ===Have you been living in a cave the last 3 months? ===

    Pre-COVID thinking.

  9. - Huh? - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 5:28 pm:

    I have no doubt that vote by mail will be handled efficiently. Voters should be able to research the candidates and cast a ballot to be counted in a timely manner.

    It’s not rocket science. Nor is it bean bag. Perhaps Illinois could learn something from a west coast State with a bit of experience in vote by mail.

    From the State of Oregon’s Secretary of State vote by mail website:

    “Oregon has the most convenient voting system in the country. Since adopting vote-by-mail, Oregon consistently ranks as a national leader in voter turnout.

    Registered voters receive a ballot two to three weeks before an election, giving time to research issues or candidates.

    Voters also receive an official ballot to complete and insert into the security envelope which is placed in the ballot return envelope and signed by the voter. The ballot return envelope can be stamped and mailed or dropped off at any official drop box​across the state. If a voter casts their ballot after the Wednesday before an election, the ballot should be left at a drop box site to ensure it’s counted.

    Ballots must be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day.​​​​​​​​”

  10. - Proud Papa Bear - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 5:47 pm:

    “to lazy to go to a poling place you are probably not informed on the issues”

    Or don’t have transportation to get to early voting and have to work all day Election Day and then have to take care of family.

  11. - jimbo26 - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 6:05 pm:

    Call me lazy if you want. I have never missed voting since I became eligible. I even voted my local school board election from the Navy ship I was on off Vietnam. At age 73 with COPD caused by Agent Orange, I will vote at home as I have for the last several cycles.

  12. - Mama - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 7:59 pm:

    How can you make sure the mail-in ballots will be counted?

  13. - Mike - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 8:46 pm:

    Under current law, if your vote-by-mail ballot is preliminarily rejected (no signature (or bad signature on envelope, etc.) you are notified by the Clerk and can contest the decision.

  14. - Huh? - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 8:47 pm:

    “How can you make sure the mail-in ballots will be counted?”

    Just like any other absentee ballot. We depend on the honesty and integrity of out county clerks to properly and correctly count all ballots regardless of absentee, mail-in, or vote in person.

  15. - Lynn S. - Friday, May 22, 20 @ 9:26 pm:

    Thank you for your examples, Proud Papa Bear.

    At different times in my life, those have all applied to me. And I’m certain I’m not the only one.

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This is not Facebook, so uncivil comments, profanity of any kind, rumors and anonymous commenters will not be tolerated and will likely result in banishment.

* Reader comments closed for the weekend
* Pritzker thanks Dr. Ezike, extends financial protections, points to progress, says no more daily COVID-19 briefings - Calls Trump tweets "reprehensible" - "I want to send my condolences to the family of George Floyd, and also to every African American in this country" - Defends budget decisions - Credits Illinoisans for progress against virus - No bill signing ceremonies - Hopes testing progress continues - "It seems as if President Trump is withdrawing us from the rest of the world" - No out of state travel plans - Talks contact tracing - Asks Illinoisans to be careful during reopening - Will sign Medicare for undocumented seniors bill - Refuses to criticize Lightfoot for Trump comments - Talks about difficulties in securing testing locations - Dr. Ezike and Pritzker respond to question about what they've learned about themselves and leadership - "We're no longer in a stay at home order"
* 1,622 new cases, 86 additional deaths
* *** UPDATED x1 *** What in the heck is going on in Rockford?
* COVID-19 roundup
* All metro areas reporting record high unemployment rates
* School seclusion and restraint bill derailed after opposition
* Attorney DeVore asks appellate court to dissolve another TRO
* Question of the day
* Madigan issues new guidance to members, staff
* Architects abandon alternative reopening plan
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Supplement to today’s edition
* House of worship attendance limit expected to be removed from stay at home order
* Open thread
* SUBSCRIBERS ONLY - Today's edition of Capitol Fax (use all CAPS in password)
* Sheriffs file suit against state for refusing to accept jail transfers
* Pritzker says IDPH has offered "suggestions" to churches - Says he's received "pushback" from some private nursing homes - IDPH will file new rule on nursing homes - Still looking at what to do about IDPH rule - Dodges question about Willie Wilson - Employers should use "common decency" when bring workers back - Will wait on feds before making any more budget decisions - Central Illinois hospitalization numbers improve - "We might potentially have to move backwards in the phases - "Not our intention" to make changes to Phase 4 guidance - No plans to dine at restaurant this weekend - No decision about ending daily briefing - Repeats that he has never encouraged police enforcement - Suggests GOP demand for IDES audit could be a "political move" - Still pondering school reopening - All testing is free - Asked about dangers of Legionella in large buildings - Testing and tracing metrics are "internal goals" - Points to federal rules on unemployment and workers who refuse to return - "Difficult for us to open theaters in the near future" - Dr. Ezike talks rules for malls - Dr. Ezike monitoring outbreak at county jail with ICE detainees
* Yesterday's stories

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