votebymail 062121SPRINGFIELD – Following the success of a law to provide more efficient ways for people to cast their ballot from home during the peak of the pandemic, a new proposal to make voting by mail permanently more accessible was signed into law.

“This keeps in place a number of voter conveniences that have proven popular,” said Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “It’s a great example of lawmakers listening to the diverse voices of voters and taking steps to maintain and encourage voter participation.”

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) successfully championed a law to mail a 2020 General Election vote-by-mail application to every person who voted during the previous two years. In response, one of every three votes cast during the election was cast via a mail ballot. 

The newly signed law – sponsored by President Harmon – expands upon Morrison’s previous voting rights progress by allowing voters to request to be added to a list to permanently receive vote-by-mail ballots for all future elections. Voters who are added to the permanent vote-by-mail list will remain on the list unless requested to be removed or the election authority receives confirmation the voter has registered in another county. 

Additionally under the law, people with disabilities would be able to independently and privately fill out ballots using assistive technology.

“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.”

Senate Bill 825 was signed by the governor Thursday. It took effect immediately.