Illinois lawmakers pass bill postponing 2022 primary election, expanding voting options


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State lawmakers passed a proposal Monday night to postpone the 2022 primary election and allow voters to apply for permanent vote-by-mail status. The measure made it through both chambers on partisan votes.

Rep. Maurice West (D-Rockford) filed an amendment to legislation late Sunday night, pushing the primary election to June 28. It also makes curbside voting options permanent and requires local election authorities to set up at least one voting center for elections.

The proposal expands voting rights for suspects held in jails before trial. Democrats want temporary polling places in county jails for inmates not yet convicted. The Cook County jail started this initiative last year.

But, there’s also a significant change for anyone previously convicted of an infamous crime, bribery, or other felonies.

“It adds the restoration of rights provision which clarifies that individuals who have had their rights restored by the governor are eligible to run for office,” West said.

November 8, 2022 could also become a state holiday, allowing more people to vote for the general election. This legislation makes it a school holiday to allow people to vote safely on school property. The plan also requires the State Board of Elections to help high school students register to vote.

Cybersecurity and county redistricting

The large proposal could also create new cybersecurity requirements for local election authorities. It includes monthly vulnerability scans to prevent cyber breaches. Election authorities will start using endpoint detection and response security tools for all employee computers a year after the bill takes effect.

Republicans strongly opposed a provision of the proposal that allows county leaders to extend their redistricting period to December 31. It also encourages counties to use data from the American Community Survey. Statehouse Democrats utilized the same data for the legislative and Supreme Court maps.

“At the core, this bill is a continuation of the Democrats redistricting plan. We continue to see that the lengths to maintain and sustain power know no boundaries in the state of Illinois,” said Rep. Ryan Spain.

The Peoria Republican noted how the majority party rushed maps through both chambers without waiting for data from the 2020 Census. Spain stressed Democrats wouldn’t let the process go past a June 30 deadline, even though Republicans saw a path to an October 5 option.

“Now we see here that time is not of the essence, that we have plenty of time,” Spain added.

The proposal passed the House on a 72-46 vote. Senators approved the plan on a 41-18 vote. It now heads to Gov. JB Pritzker’s desk.

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