SPRINGFIELD, IL — Voting might look different in November. Democrats are looking to expand vote by mail options for the upcoming election. The effort is geared to looking ahead to what a major statewide election would like if COVID-19 is still circulating in the state and people are worried about in-person voting or working at the polls.
Among the changes Election Day 2020 would be an extended state holiday, applications for absentee voting would be mailed out and provisions for curbside voting would be made. An application to vote would be sent by mail or absentee if a person voted in 2018, 2019 or in the 2020 primary. All the provisions of the bill would sunset in January of 2021 and only apply to the November election.
State Rep. Terri Bryant (R-Murphysboro) voted NO on a plan to, as she states in a press release, radically expand vote by mail proposed by House Democrats and Governor JB Pritzker on Thursday during the 2nd day of a Special Legislative Session held at the Bank of Springfield Center amid the COVID-19 crisis.
“I have received an overwhelming amount of correspondence in opposition to the Democrats’ expansion of Illinois’ vote by mail program,” Bryant said. “I am especially worried that voter fraud will increase exponentially because of this program. I also believe that our county clerks will be faced with significant costs and increases in the manpower that will be required because of certain provisions in the bill.”
Bryant says several flaws exist in the current version of the Democrat vote by mail expansion plan.
“During the debate we learned that the bill allows for very insecure vote drop boxes to be placed in different voting districts around the state,” Bryant said. “That includes potentially vote drop boxes on college campuses. My colleagues brought up many concerns about the safety and the integrity of the ballots that would potentially be placed in these locations. Other concerns that were brought up included ballot harvesting and ballot stuffing. These are serious concerns that were not adequately addressed in either the bill or in the debate.”
“When the legislative process is rushed, and witnesses and legislators from the opposing party are not given the chance to weigh what you’ll find is a flawed bill. This issue is too big to rush. We have plenty of time to get this right before the November election. Illinois already has the best laws in the country as far as voter access is concerned. If you want to vote by mail in Illinois, you already can! It does not take a massive State government takeover to allow our citizens to vote by mail.”
The bill passed the house Friday and heads to the senate for approval.