SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) – who championed the state’s comprehensive vote-by-mail law last spring – is fighting for additional safe ways for voters to cast their ballots.

“A record number of Illinoisans voted by mail in November. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we must continue to give people an option to safely cast their ballots during local government primary elections this spring,” Morrison said. “One way we can provide another safe option is through secure drop boxes. It will give people peace of mind to know their ballots have arrived on time and are secure.”

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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 heard concerns from some voters who weren’t comfortable with mailing their ballot. They wondered if it would be delivered on time, if it would be lost in the mail and if it needed stamps – among other concerns.

Those issues led Morrison to sponsor House Bill 3994, which 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.

“All people should have be able to safely and securely exercise their right to vote,” Morrison said. “Creating permanent drop boxes would create convenient options for both voters and election authorities.”

The measure was presented to the Senate Executive Committee Sunday. It was introduced this week for intended action during the last days of the 101st General Assembly, so it can be implemented by the spring municipal election.

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