DES PLAINES – July 4, 2010. Governor Pat Quinn today commemorated the Fourth of July by signing three bills into law that improve election ballot access for Illinois’ deployed servicemembers and students on college campuses throughout the state.
“There is no better way to celebrate our nation’s independence than by signing legislation to expand democracy in Illinois,” said Governor Quinn. “These new laws remove barriers to voting for students on our college campuses, deployed Illinois servicemembers and other residents who are overseas on Election Day.”
House Bill 6077 allows Illinois voters residing overseas, including deployed servicemembers, to receive absentee voter registration forms and ballots via fax or electronic transmission. Under current law these forms must be sent through the mail or delivered in person. The new law also gives the Governor (and someone from the State Board of Elections) the authority to modify absentee voting procedures in an emergency situation.
The legislation implements portions of the federal Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, signed by President Obama on October 28, 2009. It was sponsored by Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) and passed the Illinois General Assembly nearly unanimously. The new law takes effect January 1.
Senate Bill 3012 establishes a grace period voter registration and early voting pilot program on each main campus of the state’s public universities. The bill also makes changes to the election calendar and allows residents to reproduce, distribute or return an absentee ballot application to an election authority. Under current Illinois law, absentee ballot applications must be provided by an election authority and may not be reproduced. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan) and takes effect immediately.
House Bill 5157, sponsored by Rep. Naomi Jakobsson (D-Urbana) and Sen. Terry Link (D-Waukegan), allows college students to vote absentee from their school residence without having to specify a reason. The new law is effective immediately.