Gov. JB Pritzker signed SB 1863 and HB 2238 into law June 16 to provide vote-by-mail ( VBM ) applications to all recent voters in Illinois.
The legislation also expands early voting hours at permanent polling places, improves the signature verification process and makes election day a state holiday.
"In the face of a pandemic, massive economic upheaval, and renewed calls for racial justice, it's more important than ever that Illinoisans can hold accountable a truly representative and transparent governmentand that means ensuring all eligible residents can wield their right to vote in a way that doesn't risk their personal health," said Pritzker in a statement. "Sending vote-by-mail applications to residents who have participated in recent elections will allow more people to exercise that right from the safety of their own homes and help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our communities."
Under the new law, local election offices must mail or email vote-by-mail ballot applications and the VBM timeline to voters who cast a ballot in the 2018 general election, the 2019 consolidated election or the 2020 general primary election, including voters who registered or changed addresses after the primary election. Voters who submit their application for a VBM ballot by Oct. 1 will receive their VBM ballot by Oct. 6.