Election dates changed

Gov. Pritzker has signed a major election reform bill into law that will expand curbside voting and allow polling places in county jails for those waiting on their trial.

Senate Bill 825 includes uniform cybersecurity standards for election offices and creates a permanent vote-by-mail registry. The bill also mandates that high schools provide a one-page document of information for students 18 years and older about how to register to vote.

The new law also changes the date of next year’s primary election from March 15 to June 28.

Senate Bill 825 makes a number of changes, including:

  • Changes the 2022 primary date to June 28.
  • Permits counties to use American Community Survey (ACS) data, instead of census data, for reapportionment in 2021.
  • Extends the time period that county boards have to complete the reapportionment of county boards to December 31 (2021 only).
  • Permits candidates/officeholders to use campaign funds for child or dependent care if the care is reasonably necessary for public or political purposes.
  • Permits voters to apply to be put on a permanent vote-by-mail list; requires election authorities to notify all qualified voters of the option to be put on the permanent vote-by-mail list.
  • Requires the State Board of Elections to prepare legislation to establish a procedure to send vote by mail ballots electronically and to enable voters with disabilities to independently and privately mark a ballot using assistive technology.

The ACS data is currently the subject of a lawsuit filed earlier this month by Senate Republican Leader Dan McConchie and House Republican Leader Jim Durkin to challenge the use of American Community Survey (ACS) estimates in legislative maps. The lawsuit argues that the use of ACS estimates violates federal law, including well-established “one-person, one-vote” principles under the U.S. Constitution.

More than 50 good government and community advocacy organizations and leaders have asked the General Assembly to wait for the release of official census counts, which are expected by Aug. 16, 2021. The use of ACS estimates will undercount minority, rural and growing communities and will result in a population disparity between districts that exceeds what federal law allows. Even the U.S. Census Bureau has said that ACS estimates are not appropriate for drawing legislative boundaries.

Dave Syverson

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