SPRINGFIELD — Thanks to efforts from State Senator Julie Morrison, Illinoisans will have a more accessible way to cast their ballots from the safety of their homes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, standing in line to vote isn’t safe for many, specifically older populations and those at higher health risks. 

vbm pic

“COVID-19 has made congregating in small and enclosed spaces more dangerous,” Morrison said. “Long lines to get to the ballot box would require people to choose between their health and their right to vote.”

Morrison (D-Lake Forest) successfully passed an elections package — found in Senate Bill 1863 — which, among other things, will expand the state’s vote by mail program for the November election.

Any person who has voted in the past two years — either in the 2018 General Election, 2019 Consolidated Election or 2020 Primary Election — will receive an application for a vote-by-mail ballot in their mailbox.

People who registered to vote after the 2020 Primary Election will also receive an application.

Under the measure, people who aren’t automatically sent an application will still have the chance to apply for a ballot via the State Board of Elections’ website. Applications will open the day the law takes effect.

This does not preclude in-person voting opportunities on and before Election Day.

“Vote by mail is essential for voters to stay safe while exercising their right to vote,” Morrison said. “I’ve heard from people all over the state who were concerned about their health during the November election, and I hope expanded vote by mail will put them at ease.”

The measure awaits the signature of Gov. JB Pritzker — who has been a steadfast supporter of vote by mail legislation.