Stuart election bill heading to House Floor

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House Ethics and Elections Committee on Monday advanced a bill introduced by state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, that would expand ballot drop boxes and curbside voting.

The committee advanced Stuart’s bill to the House Floor in a 10-7 vote along party lines.

House Bill 1871 would make changes similar to those passed ahead of the 2020 presidential election during the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill would allow the state to use federal funds to create and maintain secure collection sites for mail ballots.

Curbside voting — which allows a person to fill out a ballot from their vehicle in a designated zone outside the polling place — would be allowed in all elections for certain persons.

If enacted, Stuart’s legislation would let voters with temporary or permanent disabilities use curbside voting on election day or early voting days. The curbside voting programs would have to have at least two election judges — at least one Democrat and one Republican — present at each vehicle where curbside voting occurs, and the ballots must be filled out without interference from election judges.

Stuart’s bill would also mandate that all election authorities accept any mail ballot, even if it is returned with no postage or not enough postage. Election officials would have the option to legally maintain postage-free collection sites where voters could return their mail ballots.

The law would postmark ballots received after business hours as having arrived the next day, except for ballots dropped off after hours on election day, which will be treated as having arrived on election day.

This is in line with how election law treats mail ballots actually returned through the mail: If they are postmarked for a date no later than election day, but…

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March 16, 2021 at 11:03AM

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