SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WAND) - The Illinois Senate has passed a bill to expand mail-in-voting for Illinois.
The vote was 37 in favor and 19 against. The bill, SB1863, narrowly passed the House on Thursday. A few amendments to the bill have been filed by the House, according to the bill log.
The bill would see election officials send ballot applications to Illinoisans who voted by mail in 2018, 2019, or earlier in 2020. Voters would not receive a ballot at first, just an application. They would have to fill the application out, and mail it in, before receiving an actual ballot.
Mail-in voting will likely be on the rise this November due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Supporters of the bill say it would provide a simpler and safer way to vote, while opponents say it could open the door for voter fraud, and say it would be operationally and financially burdensome.
The bill would also make November 3, 2020, a state holiday.
The bill now heads to the governor's desk, who is in support of the bill.
Governor JB Pritzker released the following statement:
"The right to vote is the foundational pillar of our democracy -- and, now, as our elected leaders are making some of the most consequential decisions of our lifetimes, it's more important than ever that people have every ability to make their voices heard,” said Gov. Pritzker. “I applaud Leader Kelly Burke, Senator Julie Morrison, the Women’s Caucus and leaders in the General Assembly for working to ensure Illinoisans can continue to exercise their right to vote during these unprecedented times. Sending vote-by-mail applications to residents who have participated in recent elections will allow more people to vote from the safety of their own homes and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. I look forward to signing this legislation when it reaches my desk and I encourage all eligible voters to exercise their right to vote at every available opportunity.”