Pritzker signs Morrison's vote-by-mail expansion legislation into law

  • Curbside voting and ballot drop boxes, such as this one in Wheaton, will be available in every election under a bill signed into law Friday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

    Curbside voting and ballot drop boxes, such as this one in Wheaton, will be available in every election under a bill signed into law Friday by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. John Starks | Staff Photographer, 2020

 
 
Updated 4/2/2021 8:38 PM

Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday signed legislation that will allow expand the use of ballot drop boxes and curbside voting in Illinois elections.

The law takes effect immediately ahead of next week's April 6 election.

 

Under the new law, local election authorities may now establish permanent ballot drop boxes, which are to be opened and locked only by election authorities, and may also authorize curbside voting during early voting periods and on Election Day. Both provisions were used in the November 2020 elections.

Democratic Sen. Julie Morrison of Deerfield sponsored the legislation, House Bill 1871, in the Illinois Senate, saying it gives every voter the "same opportunity to have their voice heard."

"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 news release. "Just because the pandemic is winding down doesn't mean expanded voters' rights have to. Let's keep fighting for more inclusive and secure elections."

With curbside voting, voters can cast ballots from their cars with the supervision of election judges and poll watchers.

Election authorities now will be required to accept any mail-in ballot they receive from the U.S. Postal Service, regardless if the ballot has insufficient postage. Election authorities will be given funds remaining from the Help America Vote Act to maintain the boxes, curbside voting and the new postage provision.

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The legislation had the support of the Illinois Association of County Clerks and Recorders Association. Lake County Clerk Robin O'Connor said elections will still be "very safe and very secure" under the new law.

The bill drew the opposition of all 41 Illinois House Republicans and seven Senate Republicans. Some opponents have cited concerns about the potential for voter fraud.

Suburban Democratic Reps. Jennifer Gong-Geshowitz of Glenview, Maura Hirschauer of Batavia, Terra Costa Howard of Glen Ellyn and Deb Conroy of Elmhurst sponsored the legislation in the House.

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