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New Sims plan would give students time off to vote during school hours

Voting BoothsSPRINGFIELD — A plan to give students time off from school to vote is one step closer to becoming law.

State Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr. (D-Chicago) decided to bring this bill forward after running into issues during an event encouraging students in his district to vote.

“We have to make voting accessible to everyone, including our young people,” Sims said. “A March to the Polls event in my district was unsuccessful because school district officials would not allow the students to leave during school hours. Just as state workers get time off to vote, students should as well.”

Senate Bill 1970 amends the Election Code to allow students who are 18 or older to be absent for up to two hours to vote in a primary, general or any other election in the state that requires a popular vote.
The school can designate which hours students can leave to vote.

The plan is modeled after current rules for employers and employees.

“Students have the right to be heard,” Sims said. “We encourage our young people to embrace their civic responsibility and this change, done in partnership with local school officials, will make it easier for students to be heard and cast their vote.”

SB 1970 passed out of the Senate Executive Committee and now heads to the Senate floor for consideration.

Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr.

Senator Elgie R. Sims Jr.

17th District

Years served: 2012–2018 (House); 2018–Present (Senate)

Committee assignments: Appropriations I; Appropriations II (Vice-Chairperson); Criminal Law (Chairperson); Judiciary (Vice-Chairperson); Telecommunications & InfoTechnology; Subcommittee on Capital (AP); Subcommittee on Special Issues (CL) (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on CLEAR Compliance (Sub-Chairperson); Sub. on the Const.& Redistricting (Sub-Chairperson); Subcommittee on Civil Rights (Sub-Chairperson); Opioid Crisis Abatement Spec. Com..

Biography: Attorney; born in Chicago; B.S., Political Science, Illinois State University; M.P.A., University of Illinois; J.D., Loyola University Chicago School of Law; married, has two children.

Associated Representatives:
Marcus C. Evans, Jr.
Nicholas K. Smith