SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR)– After hours of debate yesterday and today, lawmakers passed a measure that will send vote by mail applications to everyone who’s voted in the state since 2018.
While most lawmakers say they understand the challenges COVID-19 poses to the 2020 election,
Some say the bill headed to the governor’s desk is not the way our state should handle them.
Governor Pritzker’s signature now awaits the vote by mail measure he says does not go far enough.
But some Republicans opposing the bill say the legislation absolutely crosses the line.
On top of sending vote by mail applications to voters, the measure makes election day a state holiday for state workers and schools. It also allows 16-year-olds to serve as election judges, giving them the authority to help verify signatures on ballots that are mailed in from voters who can’t or are not comfortable voting in person. The measure also allows local election authorities to set up secure collection sites for ballot returns. Some say the ballot drop boxes and inexperienced workers will open the door for misconduct.
“The last I heard this is going to have a price tag of 16 million dollars, that may not be much but that is real money. And there are, I think we all agree recognize that there all opportunities for bad actors to put their thumbs on the scale,” said Murphysboro Republicans Paul Schimpf.
“While I’m for vote by mail, I don’t support vote by fraud. Unfortunately, this is essentially the ‘voter fraud legalization act’,” said Springfield Republican Steve McClure.
“I’ll tell you what’s a fraud. People I represent and people that your represent couldn’t vote in the primary because they felt like they would be exposed to a disease,” said Senator Andy Manar.
The senator leading the way on this bill reminded opponents that this measure allows election authority to incorporate drop boxes and young judges but they are not required to do so.
After hearing concerns about security efforts around the bill, the senate sponsor did propose and amendment to require a vote of three election judges to reject a mail-in ballot if the signature on the ballot does not match the one on the record from the election authority. The amendment passed both chambers also but opponents said it does not alleviate their concerns.