Illinois offering permanent vote by mail option

Source: Hot Air

Under the frequently shifting election laws in Illinois, more changes are on the way for voters. Every eligible voter in the state will be sent an application they can submit allowing them to vote by mail permanently. The state has been heading in this direction since 2010, expanding the eligibility of people to mail in their ballots without providing a reason why they should do so. The use of mail-in voting expanded considerably during the height of the pandemic but receded a fair bit this year. But now, as long as you remain living at the same address, you can keep voting by mail for the rest of your life if you wish. What could possibly go wrong? (Associated Press)

Illinois voters have the chance to sign up to send their ballots for November and spring elections by mail — forever.

Elections officials are sending applications for permanent permission to vote by mail to each of the state’s 8 million registered voters.

No one is obligated to sign up. But for as long as they stay at the same address, those who do will receive ballots they can complete at home and put in the mail for all future elections.

This is yet another example of governments abusing extraordinary measures enacted in response to the pandemic. The greatly expanded mail-in ballot plan was supposed to prevent people from mixing together at polling places while COVID transmission levels were still high. Another aspect of the revised voting laws in Illinois has made the ballot “drop boxes” located near courthouses permanent. Those were also put in place specifically so voters could submit their ballots in person “without human contact.” And we’ve all seen the issues that arose with those drop boxes.

It’s easy to see how this doesn’t end well for Illinois. They are making mail-in voting permanent without putting in any of the hard work required to keep such a system stable. They have not cleaned up their voter rolls or implemented processes that will keep the rolls current going forward. This simply opens the door to questionable results through a combination of honest mistakes or intentional fraud. As we’ve pointed out here repeatedly, just look at what happened in New York’s 22nd District in 2020 for an example. We have no idea who won that congressional race to this day, though we do know for a fact that several ballots were cast by dead people. And all of those issues were caused by massive mail-in voting.

Illinois handled this matter rather cleverly. If they had tried to mandate mail-in voting for everyone it might have wound up being challenged in the courts. But by making it optional for anyone who wishes, a legal challenge likely won’t arise. It won’t be universal, of course. Those with a keen interest in making sure their vote is counted correctly will likely still show up to vote in person. Those with less… transparent motives will likely be sending in the application.

There’s one other change wrapped up in this package that’s worth mentioning. Many people in jail will be eligible to receive mail-in ballots.

For the first time, people who are in jail awaiting trial or who otherwise have not been convicted of a crime must be given the chance to vote by mail. The Cook County Jail is required to set up inmate polling places. Other jails may as well.

I understand the technical details of this. If you have not yet been convicted, you are innocent until proven guilty and your right to vote should not be impeded. They probably won’t let you out of jail just to go vote and trust you to return, so a mail-in ballot is probably your only option. But the optics of this are still kind of awful. “Hey, let’s make sure everyone locked up in the slammer gets to participate in picking our next set of legislators!”