Republican lawmakers around the country are working in various ways to pass new laws to make it harder for voters to access the polls. The most concerted efforts are occurring in states such as Georgia and Arizona where former President Donald Trump lost close elections and then falsely claimed that voter fraud was the reason for his defeat.
This GOP campaign to suppress voter turnout in future elections, especially in areas where minorities cast ballots in high numbers in 2020, is anti-democratic to its core. Fortunately, backlash against such efforts is growing more fierce. Major national corporations that are headquartered in some of the offending states are beginning to speak out and call out the voter-suppression strategy for what it is.
While we hope the GOP fails to make headway in this cynical plot, the people of Illinois can be gratified that no such nonsense is gaining a foothold in their state. In fact, the Illinois legislature recently passed a bill to expand the use of vote-by-mail and curbside voting in future elections, the very types of voter-access measures that are under attack in other states.
If Gov. JB Pritzker signs the bill — and every indication is that he will — it would revise state law to make permanent some of the changes that were widely adopted across the state last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The changes include allowing election authorities to install drop box sites where voters can submit mail-in ballots without postage during and on Election Day. The bill also permits curbside voting where people can fill out ballots outside the polling place during early voting and on Election Day.
Illinois’ forward thinking on these issues is good for its people and their future participation in free and fair elections. Seeing the type of mischief being propagated by Republicans in other states should make everyone thankful that their elections here are not under similar assault.