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Elections

  • Villivalam Vote-by-mail law will make voting safer and easier

    Vote by mailCHICAGO – Governor JB Pritzker today signed legislation ensuring that all Illinoisans will be able to safely cast their ballots in the November election.

    “Given the COVID-19 pandemic, my colleagues and I worked to find ways to keep people from congregating in enclosed spaces, standing in long lines for hours, or otherwise risking their health in order to exercise their right to vote,” said State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), a chief co-sponsor of the measure. “By designating Election Day as a state holiday and creating an expansive vote-by-mail program, it will allow a greater number of people the opportunity to vote without having to worry about missing work or school.”

    Under the new law, those who voted within the last two years or registered to vote after the 2020 primary election will be receiving an application for a vote-by-mail ballot. Additionally, it designates Election Day 2020 as a state holiday, allows for drive-by voting, extends early voting, and allows more people to serve as election judges.

    People who aren’t automatically sent an application will still be able to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot through the State Board of Elections’ website.

    “Allowing people to vote by mail or go in person to vote early are two great options to allow people to maintain a safe physical distance from each other,” Villivalam said. “Participation in the election process shouldn’t be a life or death decision.”

    The law, Senate Bill 1863, takes effect immediately.

  • Bush: Vote by mail expansion will help ensure safe participation in elections

    Vote by mailGRAYSLAKE – State Senator Melinda Bush (D-GRAYSLAKE) lent her support to a new law, signed on Tuesday, that will make voting by mail much easier for Lake County residents in the interest of a safer November election.

    “Elections are the cornerstone of our democracy,” Bush said. “During this pandemic, we want to make sure people can exercise their civic duty safely by minimizing risk of exposure to COVID-19.”

    Under this new law, any person who has voted in the past two years will receive an application for a vote by mail ballot in their mailbox. Voters who cast a ballot in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election, as well as those who have already registered to vote after the 2020 Primary Election, are due to receive the application.

    Election authorities are expected to mail out applications no later than Aug. 1, so people can expect their applications in early August. They can also expect to receive periodic reminders from the Secretary of State’s Office to submit their application.

    However, people who aren’t automatically sent an application will still have the chance to apply for a ballot through the State Board of Elections’ website. Vote by mail applications must be received by the Election Authority by October, 29, 2020. The form can be filled out and mailed to your election commission, or will include instructions for making the request electronically.

    Voters can still go to the polls in person on Election Day.

    Senate Bill 1863 also establishes Election Day as a state holiday in 2020, to allow schools to be used as polling locations and to help recruit more high school students as election judges, since many of those who frequently serve as election judges are senior citizens, and thus at higher risk in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This Election Day will be an excellent opportunity for students to participate in the democratic process,” Bush said. “Their contributions will help ensure polling places can stay open during this unusual election cycle.”

    This legislation was signed into law on Tuesday and is effective immediately.

  • Koehler commends vote by mail expansion effort

    Vote by mailPEORIA – Vote by mail legislation signed into law today will provide Illinoisans with a safe way to participate in the upcoming November election, State Senator Dave Koehler (D-Peoria) said.

    “It’s important to take into account the sense of unease brought on by the COVID-19 crisis,” said Koehler, who supported Senate Bill 1863. “Those who express hesitation about congregating in large groups deserve to have their concerns recognized. Providing increased access to the vote is a simple way to provide some peace of mind.”

    Under Senate Bill 1863 any person who has voted in the past two years — in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election — would receive an application for a vote by mail ballot in their mailbox. It can then be filled out and mailed to your election commission, or will include instructions for making the request electronically.

    Voters can still go the polls on Election Day, which the legislation makes a state holiday in 2020.

    “Our goal is, as always, to encourage as many people as possible to exercise their right to vote.” Koehler said. “This legislation provides a safe, secure means of doing so this November.”

    This legislation is effective immediately.

  • Van Pelt urges voters to use expanded vote by mail

    Senator Van PeltCHICAGO – Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) urged voters to practice social distancing measures while casting their ballot this fall under an expansion of Illinois' vote by mail program signed into law today by Governor JB Pritzker.

    “In the midst of the pandemic, we wanted to make sure everyone had the option the vote safely,” Van Pelt said. “Voting is crucial to maintaining a functional democracy, and we can’t allow this pandemic to disrupt our self-governance.”

    Senate Bill 1863 ensures that every Illinoisan who has voted within the last two years will be sent a vote by mail application for the 2020 election. Under this legislation, voters may register online to automatically request a vote by mail ballot, rather than having to apply.

    Furthermore, early voting and Election Day hours will be extended. Election authorities will be required to expedite ballots, so that voters are guaranteed enough time to vote.

    In addition, Election Day 2020 will become a state holiday, helping ensure that every voter has the opportunity to cast their vote.

    “This election will be the most important of our lifetime,” Van Pelt said. “With these new measures, I am hopeful that Illinois will see a turnout like never before.”

    Voters are now able to apply for an absentee ballot, and can register here.

  • Link: Expanded vote-by-mail law will ensure safety in 2020 election

    Vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – A new measure backed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) that would help ensure Illinois voters can safely participate in the November 2020 General Election was signed into law by Gov. JB Pritzker today.

    “With the possibility COVID-19 will still be a problem in our state in the fall, it’s critical that we ensure voters can participate in the election, even if they do not feel safe going to their usual polling place,” Link said.

    Senate Bill 1863 expands Illinois’ vote-by-mail program for the 2020 General Election. Under the new law, anyone who has voted in the last two years will receive a vote-by-mail application. New voters registering online may also automatically request a vote-by-mail ballot rather than having to apply.

    The measure also establishes Election Day, November 3, 2020 as a holiday for Illinois schools and universities. Some schools and universities will be used as polling locations and will be properly cleaned before students and staff return.

    The law further allows election authorities to establish a curb-side voting program and extends early voting hours at polling locations.

    “We can’t allow the novel coronavirus infringe on anyone’s ability to exercise their democratic right,” Link said. “This law will help ensure every eligible voter can participate in our process.”

    Senate Bill 1863 takes effect immediately.

  • Hastings touts vote by mail expansion, naming Election Day 2020 a holiday

    Senator HastingsSPRINGFIELD – An expanded vote by mail program signed into law today will ensure Illinoisans can exercise their right to vote without compromising their health and safety, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) said.

    “Though the state of Illinois has made tremendous strides in flattening the curve, it is not realistic to expect everyone will be comfortable with going to the polls this November,” Hastings said. “We had to take the health and safety of our people into account, and I feel we arrived at a commonsense solution to expand access to the ballot box.”

    Under Senate Bill 1863 any person who has voted in the past two years — in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election — would receive an application for a vote-by-mail ballot in their mailbox. It can then be filled out and mailed to your election commission, or there will be instructions for making the request electronically.

    Voters will also retain the choice to vote in person via early voting or on Election Day, which would be a state holiday for 2020.

    “Those who feel comfortable voting in person should absolutely do so,” Hastings said. “The point of this legislation is to simply ensure no one feels pressured into unnecessarily putting their personal health and safety at risk.”

    This legislation is effective immediately.

  • Peters applauds vote-by-mail expansion becoming law

    Senator PetersCHICAGO – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) is applauding an expansion to the state’s vote-by-mail program becoming law after Gov. JB Pritzker signed it Tuesday.

    “Since everyone deserves the right to be healthy, it’s critical that we figure out a way to help people stay healthy while they exercise their right to participate in the democratic process,” Peters said. “Voting by mail is a safe, convenient way for folks to have their voices heard without having to worry about contracting COVID-19.”

    The vote-by-mail expansion is part of a larger election package legislators passed in May to address specific concerns regarding voting during a global pandemic. Under the new law, local election authorities must automatically send vote-by-mail applications to everyone under their jurisdiction who voted in the 2018 general, 2019 consolidated, or 2020 primary elections, or who registered to vote after the 2020 primary.

    “Many people don’t realize they even have the option to vote by mail, so automatically sending applications will help give people who are worried about getting sick while voting some peace of mind,” Peters said.

    The law is effectively immediately and applies only to the 2020 General Election.

  • Vote by mail program expanded, thanks to Sen. Morrison

    Vote by mail

    DEERFIELD — Illinoisans across the state will receive an application in their mailbox to vote from the comfort and safety of their home, thanks to a measure spearheaded by State Senator Julie Morrison.

    “If you’re eligible to vote, you should be able to do so safely and securely. No one should have to worry about jeopardizing their health to practice their civic duty,” Morrison said. “It is vital that no eligible voter — regardless of age or health — end up disenfranchised by the current health crisis.”

    Morrison (D-Lake Forest) successfully passed an elections package which, among other things, expands the state’s vote by mail program for the November 2020 election, amid concerns COVID-19 could discourage people from visiting the polls.

  • Villanueva: Vote by mail needs to be made permanent

    Vote by mailCHICAGO – State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) celebrated a historic election package that expands the state’s vote by mail program for the 2020 General Election.

    “Access to the ballot is a fundamental right,” Villanueva said. “Expanding vote by mail will allow voters to participate in our democracy while taking necessary precautions during this public health crisis.”

    Senate Bill 1863 will send anyone who voted in the past two years an application to vote by mail. Voters who aren’t sent an application will be able to apply to vote by mail online. Election Day of this year will also be made a state holiday so schools can be used as polling places without putting students at increased risk for COVID-19. All provisions in this legislation apply to the 2020 General Election only.

    “I am confident that this pilot program will show how safe and efficient voting by mail is,” Villanueva said. “I look forward to making this expansion a permanent part of how we vote in Illinois.”

    Senate Bill 1863 was signed into law on Tuesday and is effective immediately.

  • Gillespie: Vote by mail expansion will protect voters

    Vote by mailARLINGTON HEIGHTS – Voters can now safely cast their ballots during the COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a new elections package supported by State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) that was signed into law.

    “All citizens have a right to participate in our democracy without fear,” Gillespie said. “Given the public health challenges we face, expanding our vote by mail program will allow citizens to exercise their democratic rights without compromising their health.”

    Senate Bill 1863 will expand the state’s vote by mail program by sending any person who voted in the past two years an application for a ballot in their mailbox. Voters who aren’t sent an application in the mail will have the opportunity to register to vote by mail online. Election Day of this year will also be made a state holiday so schools can be used as polling places without putting students at increased risk for COVID-19. All provisions in this legislation apply to the 2020 General Election only.

    Senate Bill 1863 was signed into law on Tuesday and is effective immediately.

  • Sims supports plan allowing voters to cast ballot safely by mail

    sims floor 052220SPRINGFIELD—State Senator Elgie R. Sims, Jr. (D-Chicago) offered his full support of a plan expanding vote by mail for the upcoming general election due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    “This proposal allows the state to act reasonably to protect its citizens,” Sims said. “We are facing an unprecedented pandemic. This measured approach will ensure that voters can safely cast their ballots from the safety of their homes.”

    Individuals who have voted in the past two years — either in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election — will be mailed an application for a vote-by-mail ballot.

    Those who registered to vote after the 2020 Primary Election will also receive an application.

    Under the plan, individuals who aren’t automatically sent an application will still be able to apply for a ballot via the State Board of Elections’ website. Applications will open the day the law takes effect.

    This legislation does not prevent in-person voting opportunities on and before Election Day.

    “Many have fought, bled and died for our right to vote, and we need to ensure that every eligible voter has the opportunity to exercise that right,” Sims said. “I am confident this plan will help voters throughout Illinois do so without risking their health.”

    Senate Bill 1863 now heads to the governor’s desk for approval.

  • Peters celebrates expansion of vote-by-mail program

    votebymail 052320SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) supported a plan expanding the state’s vote-by-mail program that moved through the Illinois Senate on Friday.

    “In this time of crisis, it’s important that we not only look to preserve people’s health, but also their right to participate in the democratic process,” Peters said. “People deserve to cast votes without having to worry about getting sick, and expanding vote-by-mail provisions accomplishes that.”

    The expansion came as part of a larger election package that made several changes to state election code in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The proposal requires election authorities to automatically send a vote-by-mail application to every person who voted in the 2018 general, 2019 consolidated or 2020 primary elections or registered to vote after the 2020 primary election. Under current law, voters must specifically request a vote-by-mail application.

    “A lot of people aren’t aware that voting by mail is available,” Peters said. “Automatically sending vote-by-mail applications gives voters the opportunity to make use of an option they didn’t know they had,” Peters said.

    In addition to vote-by-mail expansions, Senate Bill 1863 extends early voting windows, establishes curbside voting programs, modifies required qualifications for election judges and makes election day a state holiday, among other changes. Having passed both chambers of the General Assembly, it will be sent to the governor for approval.

  • Villanueva votes to make 2020 election safe and accessible

    Sen. Celina VillanuevaSPRINGFIELD – With public health concerns surrounding the 2020 General Election, State Senator Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago) voted to pass a historic election package out of the Illinois Senate.

    “Participating in our democracy is a right, not a privilege,” Villanueva said. “Voters need to be able to cast their ballot without putting themselves or others at risk.”

  • Illinois expanding vote by mail

    vote by mail 1200bSPRINGFIELD – Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) voted Thursday to pass a plan to guarantee that every Illinoisan who has voted within the last two years will be sent a vote by mail application for the 2020 election.

    “Voting is crucial to a functioning democracy,” Van Pelt said, speaking from Springfield while attending a special legislative session convened with social distancing measures. “We have the technology to accurately and safely ensure our voices are heard. We refuse to allow a pandemic to disrupt our self-governance.”

  • Villivalam: Voter safety a top priority during pandemic

    Sen. Ram VillivalamCHICAGO – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) has chief co-sponsored legislation to ensure that Illinoisans will be able to safely cast their ballots in the November election. The new elections safety package – a part of Senate Bill 1863 – will have expanded access to the state’s vote-by-mail program, early voting, and election day voting. 

  • Gillespie votes to expand vote by mail

    vote by mail“No one should have to risk their health to vote.”

    SPRINGFIELD – After co-sponsoring an election package that would send a vote by mail application to registered voters who participated in elections within the last two years, State Senator Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights) released the following statement:

    “Participation in our democracy is the right of every citizen and must be preserved. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, voters deserve to be able to cast their ballots from the safety of their homes. No one should have to risk their health to exercise our most basic political rights.

  • Link fights to expand vote-by-mail for 2020 election

    vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – A measure championed by State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) to help voters participate safely in the November 2020 General Election passed the Illinois Senate Friday.

    “There’s no guarantee that voters won’t still be at risk for contracting COVID-19 when they come to the polls in November,” Link said. “We have a responsibility to put measures in place to keep them safe.”

  • Peters celebrates expansion of vote-by-mail program

    vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Robert Peters (D-Chicago) supported a plan expanding the state’s vote-by-mail program that moved through the Illinois Senate on Friday.

    “In this time of crisis, it’s important that we not only look to preserve people’s health, but also their right to participate in the democratic process,” Peters said. “People deserve to cast votes without having to worry about getting sick, and expanding vote-by-mail provisions accomplishes that.”

  • Hastings champions vote by mail program, makes Election Day 2020 a holiday

    vote by mailSPRINGFIELD – Prioritizing safe participation in the upcoming election, State Senator Michael E. Hastings (D-Tinley Park) voted to expand voting options for Illinoisans. 

    “Our system has been shaken to its very foundation, and people are afraid about the possibility of going to the polls this November,” Hastings said. “In the interest of public health and safety, we must give our people the chance to cast their vote in a safe, secure manner.”

  • Aquino: Voting by mail protects Illinoisans’ right to choose their leaders

    Sen. Omar AquinoSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Omar Aquino (D-Chicago) championed legislation expanding voting access in the November 3 general election that passed out of the Illinois Senate. The measure includes provisions that make it easier for all Illinois voters to cast their ballots by mail.

    “Amid the challenges we face with the COVID-19 pandemic, I am proud to contribute to creating a pathway for Illinoisans to cast their votes in the November 3 election securely and safely,” Aquino said. “We need to make sure all Illinoisans eligible to vote can exercise their right in a way that better suits their needs, especially during this crisis.”