Fine mask photo 2SPRINGFIELD – To allow Illinoisans to participate safely in elections during the pandemic and beyond, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is backing a measure to permanently allow election authorities to accept mail-in ballots via secure drop boxes.

“Voting is a constitutional right not just in the presidential election, but in every election,” Fine said. “Last fall, drop boxes were a great option for older adults, people with underlying conditions and other individuals who chose to vote by mail but wanted to ensure their ballot arrived on time—this measure would ensure that option remains available for future elections.”

The bill would make permanent Senate Bill 1863, a measure passed by the General Assembly in May 2020 that allowed election authorities to establish official ballot drop boxes for the 2020 General Election where voters could submit their mail-in ballots without postage.

Nearly half of those who voted in the 2020 General Election opted to vote by mail, according to the Pew Research Center, including a majority of voters 65 and older.

U.S. Postal Service delays prompted many voters to return mail-in ballots by hand to official drop boxes to ensure they arrived in time.

Election officials across the state stress that drop boxes are a safe, tamper-proof alternative to mailing ballots. The Illinois State Board of Elections recommends drop boxes be placed in highly visible areas and locked at all times, with a limited number of people having access to the key, and state statute requires ballots to be collected at the close of business each day.

The local election authority determines the number of boxes, their locations and when they are accessible. The Illinois State Board of Elections has compiled a list of drop box locations by jurisdiction here.

The bill also extends other voting provisions introduced for the 2020 General Election, including the requirement that election authorities accept mail-in ballots regardless of postage paid by the voter and a measure allowing local election authorities to establish curbside voting.

House Bill 3994 passed the Senate and now heads to the House.

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Contact Information

Springfield Office:
121C Capitol Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-2119

District Office:
1812 Waukegan Road
Suite A
Glenview, IL 60025
(847) 998-1717