‘Reform’ legislation opens door for election fraud

Senator Brian Stewart says he did not support an election reform omnibus bill approved by a strict 37-19 party-line vote May 22, because it opens wide a door to election fraud that will nullify the legitimate votes of registered voters in Illinois.

Senate Bill 1863 adds a new article to the Election Code to govern the conduct of the 2020 General Election.

Among its provisions:

• Vote-by-mail applications will be sent to all who applied for a ballot in the 2018 general, the 2019 consolidates, or the 2020 primary.

• Voter registration and change of registration will include ability to request a vote by mail ballot.

• A special panel of three election judges (no more than two from same political party) to conduct a signature review of ballots submitted by mail.

• People who are age 16 and older may be appointed an election judge.

• Early voting hours will be extended in the 15 days before the election.

• Curb-side voting will be allowed.

• Vote-by-mail ballots can be returned by mail or to a secure postage-free drop box.

“We are essentially rewriting our state’s Election Code. Even without the potential for fraud, this legislation has not been allowed sufficient input or analysis by the public and especially by local officials because of stay-at-home restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 health crisis. Those local officials have expressed concern about the expense of these new mandates, and their lack of staffing and other resources necessary to process ballots with this new system,” Senator Stewart said. “It’s a slap in the face to the integrity of an already established vote-by-mail system that has served our voters well for many years. This is an overreach that will open the door to voter fraud. Our citizens deserve better.”