SPRINGFIELD – Safer, more secure ways to cast ballots will soon permanently be in place across the state, thanks to a measure lead by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest).

“We saw during the November 2020 General Election how many people enjoyed having a more safe, accessible and easier way to vote,” Morrison said. “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.”

 morrisonvbmThe new law allows election authorities to establish permanent ballot drop boxes to accept vote-by-mail ballots and to accept mailed ballots even if they have insufficient postage.

 Morrison, who championed the state’s vote-by-mail expansion last spring to provide a safer way for people to vote during the pandemic, led the new law over the finish line after hearing from people who were worried about the speed and safety of mailing their ballots. People expressed concerns of potential late delivery, their documents being lost in the mail, and confusion on whether they needed to add postage.

 Local election authorities echoed voters’ concerns, but were in limbo after Morrison’s previous legislation to allow drop boxes expired in 2020. Now, drop boxes are permitted for all future elections.

The measure also allows election authorities to establish curbside voting for individuals to cast a ballot during early voting or Election Day. Curbside voting could help people who with disabilities vote at polling locations that are not as accessible as they should be.

 “Every person in this state deserves equal access to their constitutional right to vote,” Morrison said. “Drop boxes and curbside voting will allow everyone the same opportunity to have their voice heard.”

House Bill 1871 was signed into law Friday. It takes effect immediately.

Category: Vote-by-mail

SPRINGFIELD – A safer way to turn in vote-by-mail ballots may soon be on its way to counties across the state after a measure by State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) to implement more secure drop boxes passed the General Assembly Thursday.

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“We should make it simpler to vote – even in a non-COVID world,” Morrison said. “Everyone should have a safe and secure way to cast their ballot.”

House Bill 1871 would allow election authorities to establish permanent ballot drop boxes to accept vote-by-mail ballots.

One of every three votes cast during the November 2020 General Election was cast via a mail ballot – but many of those were hand-delivered to drop boxes.

Morrison introduced the legislation after she heard concerns from some voters who weren’t comfortable with mailing their ballots. They wondered if the ballots would be delivered on time, if they would be lost in the mail and if they needed stamps – among other concerns. With this measure, many voters will have an additional way to safely cast their ballots.

“This is one more step to ensure people can safely exercise their right to vote,” Morrison said. “I will continue to fight to make it easier for voters’ voices to be heard — especially at a time when so many are relying on their elected officials for help.”

The measure also allows election authorities to establish curbside voting for individuals to cast a ballot during early voting or Election Day. Curbside voting could help people who are disabled vote at polling locations that are not as accessible as they should be.

The measure passed both chambers and now heads to the governor’s desk for final approval.

Category: Vote-by-mail

SPRINGFIELD – Although a record number of people cast their votes by mail in the 2020 General Election, not every registered voter had the privilege to practice their civic duty. Voters with limited manual dexterity or visual impairments – among other disabilities – may not be able to fill out paper ballots by hand, limiting their ability to vote remotely.

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To give every person the same opportunity to cast their ballot from the comfort of their home, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) is spearheading a measure to provide more accessible remote ballots.

“Voting is a right – regardless of a person’s ability to visit a physical polling location or their ability to write,” Morrison said. “Voters who are disabled should be able to cast their ballots freely, fairly and safely.”

The measure would require the State Board of Elections to create a rule to allow ballots to be sent electronically and be filled out using assistive technology. The electronic ballots will only be available by request under Senate Bill 1907.

Several states, including Ohio, Maryland, and Oregon, have already made electronic ballot marking systems available for remote voting. Assistive technologies commonly used include screen readers, digital magnifiers and text-to-speech software.

“Voting disparities among people with disabilities is a very real issues,” Morrison said. “Just because a person has a disability, doesn’t mean their voice doesn’t matter. Their voices should be elevated so issues – just like low voting accessibility – are taken seriously.”

Additionally, to provide people with a safer and more efficient way to vote, Morrison is spearheading a measure to allow election authorities to establish permanent ballot drop boxes to accept vote-by-mail ballots. Election authorities would be able to receive reimbursement through the federal Help America Vote Act to pay for the boxes. It also allows curbside voting – which could assist people who are disabled vote at polling locations that are not as accessible as they should be.

“Many of us take our ability to vote for granted,” Morrison said. “Imagine going to a polling place where you have to climb stairs or fill out a paper ballot, and that’s something you simply cannot do. Just imagine how discouraging that is to a person.”

Senate Bill 1906 is similar to a measure sponsored by Morrison during January session that did not make it out of the House due to limited time.

Both measures await committee assignment.

Category: Vote-by-mail

SPRINGFIELD – A safer way to turn in vote-by-mail ballots may soon be on its way to counties across the state after State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) successfully championed a measure to implement more secure drop boxes.

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“We should make it simpler to vote – even in a non-COVID world,” Morrison said. “Everyone should have a safe and secure way to cast their ballot.”

House Bill 3994 would allow election authorities to establish permanent ballot drop boxes to accept vote-by-mail ballots. Election authorities would be able to receive reimbursement through the federal Help America Vote Act to pay for the boxes.

One of every three votes cast during the November 2020 General Election was cast via a mail ballot – but many of those were hand-delivered to drop boxes.

Morrison introduced the legislation after she heard concerns from some voters who weren’t comfortable with mailing their ballots. They wondered if the ballots would be delivered on time, if they would be lost in the mail and if they needed stamps – among other concerns. With this measure, many voters will have an additional way to safely cast their ballots.

“This is one more step to ensure people can safely exercise their right to vote,” Morrison said. “I will continue to fight to make it easier for voters’ voices to be heard — especially at a time when so many are relying on their elected officials for help.”

Morrison is also working with her colleagues to pass a comprehensive election plan this spring, which would include permanent expansion of last year’s vote-by-mail law. 

The measure passed the Senate Tuesday and now heads to the House for final approval. If passed and later signed by the governor, it will be implemented by the spring municipal election.

Category: Vote-by-mail

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