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.”

Under this legislation, 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.

Furthermore, Election Day 2020 will become a state holiday, helping ensure that every voter has the opportunity to cast their vote. The measure also allows voters registering online to automatically request a vote-by-mail ballot, rather than having to apply. Voting by mail will be encouraged, but not required.

“Voter participation will be especially important this fall,” Van Pelt said. “With vote by mail, I am hopeful that Illinois will see a turnout like never before.”

Voters would be able to apply for an absentee ballot immediately, should the legislation be signed into law.

Illinois is one of several states to expand voting by mail due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Senate Bill 1863 awaits the governor’s signature to become law.

Sen. Patricia Van Pelt

 Senator Patricia Van Pelt

5th Legislative District

Years Served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: AAgriculture; Criminal Law; Energy and Public Utilities; Public Health (Chairperson); State Government; Oversight Medicaid Mang. Care, Spec; Subcommittee on CLEAR Compliance; Higher Education; Subcommittee on Prisons.

Biography: Born Nov. 12, 1957, in Chicago. Bachelor’s degree, Roosevelt University (1996); master’s degree, Spertus Institute (1996); doctorate, Capella University (2009); earned her CPA. Currently CEO of TARGET Area Development Corp. She has one child.

Associated Representatives:
Arthur Turner
Jawaharial Williams