WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, May 26, the Illinois Legislature passed Senate Bill 2123, an omnibus election reform bill that would make a variety of changes to current Illinois election law. The bill now heads to Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) to be signed.
According to state Sen. Mike Simmons (D), the bill “addresses many issues within [the] election system and will help make it easier for more people to vote.” Among others, the primary pro-voter provisions include:
- Permitting 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote online, if otherwise qualifying.
- Requiring at least two vote centers in jurisdictions of more than 500,000 people, an increase from the previously required one vote center. On Election Day, voters within the jurisdiction would be able to vote at one of the centers regardless of their registered precinct. At least one vote center per jurisdiction would be required to provide curbside voting.
- Mandating that public schools in the state close on Nov. 5, 2024, the 2024 general Election Day. Any closed school can be made available for use as a polling place.
- Establishing task forces for studying the plausibility of future election reforms, including an entirely electronic ballot process and the implementation of ranked-choice voting.
Democratic state legislators celebrated the pre-registration provision in particular. Simmons, who represents parts of Chicago, said, “The young have always played a key part in democracy. The younger generations show again and again how engaged they are in social issues — allowing them to pre-register sends a message to youth that their voices are important and allows them to take that activism to the polls.”