Illinois House OKs bill to move 2022 primary to June

Hundreds of people wait in line to early vote at the Loop Super Site on Oct. 1, 2020.
Hundreds of people wait in line to early vote at the Loop Super Site on Oct. 1, 2020. | Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times file

The amendment to Senate Bill 825 would: move the 2022 primary from the third Tuesday in March to June 28; make Election Day a state holiday; and change dates for circulating candidate petitions. It awaits a vote in the Illinois Senate.

Next year’s primary elections would be pushed back by three months under a bill that passed the Illinois House on Monday. It now awaits a vote in the state Senate.

An amendment to Senate Bill 825 would, among other things: move the primary from the third Tuesday in March to June 28, 2022; make Election Day a state holiday for schools and universities; require high schools to allow on-site voter registration; change the circulation dates for candidates’ petitions.

Another amendment to that bill would update the term “alderman” to “alderperson.”

Rep. Maurice West, D-Rockford, said the decision to move the primary is partly to allow election clerks more time to educate people on when the primary will be and because “the state has always had a really long window between the primary and the general,” which can negatively effect policymaking.

“Our proposal is to do this one time change just to see how it works and I think it will be beneficial to the state, and then it can maybe be something we keep moving forward,” West said in a House committee Monday afternoon.

Hours later, ahead of the vote sending the bill to the Senate, Rep. Ryan Spain, R-Peoria, said the bill is about Democrats maintaining power.

“This bill is a continuation of the Democrats’ redistricting plan, and we continue to see that the ways to maintain and sustain power know no boundaries in the state of Illinois,” Spain said. “We have watched for weeks while redistricting activities are taking place and we were told that time is of the essence, that we have to act now in the cover of darkness … because certain deadlines were bearing down upon us … the hypocrisy of these mixed messages is astounding.”

Despite the division, the bill passed in a partisan vote in that chamber 72 to 46. Rep. Anthony DeLuca, D-Chicago Heights, was the sole Democrat to vote no on the bill, the vote count shows. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

If the bill is approved, candidates could begin circulating nominating petitions for the general primary on Jan. 13, 2022. Independent candidates, or those in new political parties, could begin circulating their petitions April 13.

Voters would be able to request a 2022 mail-in ballot between March 30 and June 23. The proposed bill would also require the Illinois State’s Board of Elections to submit legislation establishing a system in which mail-in ballots could be sent electronically and allow those with disabilities to mark their ballots with assistive technology.

County leaders would have until late November to develop and present redistricting plans for their municipalities and have until the end of the year to pass those plans, according to the bill. They’ll also be able to use data from the American Community Survey for those reapportionment plans, something Republicans have opposed.

A delayed primary means the Cook County Democratic Party would move its pre-slating days from June to later in the fall, the executive director of the party said.

The bill would also allow sheriffs in counties with fewer than 3 million people — meaning all but Cook County — to open temporary branch polling places at their county jails for detainees.

Asked why state lawmakers approved new legislative maps when the primary likely would be delayed, a spokeswoman for Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch said there was a June 30 constitutional deadline for creating and approving the updated boundaries.

The bill is set to be heard in a House committee Monday afternoon, which would allow it to advance to the House floor for a vote later in the day.

The last time the state moved its primary date, in 2008, legislators chose to move it earlier — to February — to help Barack Obama, then a U.S. senator from Illinois, in his presidential bid.

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via Chicago Sun-Times – News

May 31, 2021 at 08:14PM

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