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Illinois governor signs voter access plan that moves primary

June 20, 2021 GMT

CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois’ primary election will be moved from March to June next year under a voter access expansion recently signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker.

The new law makes mail voting a permanent option, allows jail inmates awaiting trial to cast ballots and makes Election Day in November a state holiday, among other things. The move is in contrast with other states including Texas that are moving to restrict voter access.

“With attacks on voting rights on the rise in states across the nation, Illinois is proud to stand up for a strong, secure, and accessible democracy,” Pritzker said in a statement Thursday.

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The law took effect immediately.

Next year’s primary will move from March 15 to June 28 because lawmakers decided not to draw new post-Census district boundaries for members of Congress until official Census figures, delayed by the pandemic, arrive later this summer.

Many changes continue or expand existing practices put in place last year to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Election Day would continue to be a state holiday and empty schools used as polling places. Also, Illinois counties would be required to establish at least one universal voting center to give voters alternatives sites.