Push to expand Illinois voting rights for eligible voters in jai - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Push to expand Illinois voting rights for eligible voters in jail

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(WSIL) -- The goal of Senate Bill 2090 is to expand voting rights for voters eligible to vote who are confined or detained in a county jail.

According to the Illinois ACLU, a person in jail awaiting trial would be able to cast their ballot during elections. A person leaving jail or prison would be given a voter registration application and information on their voting rights being restored. 

Only county jails in counties with a population greater than 3 million residents will have a polling place in the facility. For counties in southern Illinois, people in custody would be given mail-in voter forms.

Scott McCabe, Chief Deputy for Williamson County, says this will impact the jail in several ways. One of those includes man-hours to oversee the voting process.

"Our correctional staff will be responsible for that and it will take away from their duties," McCabe explains. 

The bill says employees who help inmates vote must undergo training on the process, responsibilities, and requirements of implementing a vote-by-mail program. 

"35-40 correctional officers whether it be two hours, you multiple that by 35-40, you’re looking at 70 to 80 hours, just immediately," McCabe says.

McCabe says there will also be a cost associated with providing voting documents, but he's still unsure if it will be up to the jail or county clerk's office to pay. 

There's also uncertainty about the actual voting process itself. "Whether somebody has to watch them complete the form, whether they complete it seal it and mail it in," McCabe remarks. 

It's also unclear whether a person being held in a county that is not the county of their residence will be able to cast a mail-in ballot.e.

McCabe adds more concrete direction is needed if the governor signs the bill into law.

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