WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the Democratic Party of Illinois (DPI) filed a motion to intervene in Bost v. Illinois State Board of Elections, a Republican-led lawsuit seeking to change Illinois’ mail-in ballot receipt deadline. Three Republicans, including U.S. Rep. Mike Bost (R-Ill.), filed the suit in May challenging the state’s practice of counting mail-in ballots that were cast on or before Election Day, but received up to 14 days after. The plaintiffs argue that federal law establishing Election Day as the first Tuesday in November precludes Illinois from counting ballots after that day and therefore the court should block Illinois from counting any mail-in ballots received after Election Day. This lawsuit mirrors others filed during the 2020 election cycle challenging states’ ballot receipt deadlines — all of which failed to block post-Election Day ballot receipt deadlines.
In seeking to intervene in the case, the DPI wants to defend Illinois’ current ballot receipt deadline, which ensures that mail-in ballots that are completed and mailed in time are counted, even if they are received up to two weeks after Election Day due to factors outside of voters’ control. The DPI highlights that changing the state’s ballot receipt deadline poses a huge risk to voters: “[M]illions of Illinois voters who vote by mail risk disenfranchisement, despite timely casting their ballots, due to delayed mail delivery and inconsistent postmarking practices.” The DPI also points out that post-Election Day ballot receipt deadlines are common, with 17 other states and Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Washington, D.C. implementing them.