RFI Statement: ILGA passes vote by mail, accessibility expansion
This week, the Illinois legislature passed a bill with two of Reform for Illinois‘ top priorities: making it easier to vote by mail with a “permanent vote by mail list” and improving voting access for people with disabilities.
Reform for Illinois has been advocating for these measures since 2018. They are part of a years-long effort of working with election experts, disability advocates, and legislators to develop and fight for solutions that can boost turnout and make it easier than ever for Illinoisans to cast their ballots.
If signed by Governor Pritzker, the bill, SB825, would allow voters to sign up to receive mail-in ballots automatically for every election instead of having to apply each time.
Often called a “permanent vote by mail list,” this is a big step towards expanding voting access for everyone, especially those for whom getting to a polling place or filling out multiple forms may be challenging. It will also ease the burden on election administrators, who currently have to process vote by mail applications from the same voters year after year.
SB825 also directs the State Board of Elections to develop legislation that would enable voters with a disability to mark a ballot without assistance. Every Illinois resident should be able to cast a secret ballot: this is an important first step to achieving that goal.
We’d like to thank our coalition partners at Promote the Vote and the lawmakers who supported these measures, including our original bill sponsors Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Sen. Melinda Bush and SB825’s sponsors: Senate President Don Harmon, Sen. Patricia Van Pelt, House Speaker Chris Welch, and Reps. Maurice A. West, II, Katie Stuart, Nicholas K. Smith, Carol Ammons, and Jonathan Carroll.
Elections are the foundation of our democracy. RFI will continue to advocate for reforms to make voting easier, more secure, and more accessible for everyone.