Today, the Illinois General Assembly begins its veto session in Springfield. Lawmakers will work to pass Senate Bill 828, legislation to restore voting rights to nearly 30,000 individuals while they serve a felony sentence. If passed, Illinois would become the first state to restore voting rights to incarcerated citizens and join Maine, Vermont, Puerto Rico, and Washington D.C. in allowing currently and formerly incarcerated citizens to vote.
Stand Up America members across the state will be advocating to make sure SB 828 is passed this veto session – joining a growing grassroots movement across the country for voting rights restoration. In recent years, the movement has made important strides to ensure no one has their right to vote taken away. Since 1997, 10 states have reformed their felony disenfranchisement laws—and in 2020, Washington, D.C. became the first jurisdiction in the country to restore full voting rights to people in prison.
During the 102nd General Assembly, state lawmakers worked to pass SB 828. However, the bill narrowly failed just days before the end of the regular session. During the session, Stand Up America members in Illinois sent nearly 2,400 constituent emails to their state legislators in support of voting rights restoration.
In addition to grassroots advocacy, Stand Up America and its partners recently released a poll revealing that 56% of Illinois voters believe voting should be a guaranteed right for all and the state should give full restoration of voting rights to all citizens over the age of 18. The polling also showed wide support for voting rights restoration in the state among younger voters, older voters, and voters of color – including the notion that all citizens should be eligible to vote – with 60%, 53%, and 65% support, respectively.
Voters in Illinois are ready for all citizens to be eligible to vote, no matter their relationship with the criminal legal system. Although many voters in Illinois aren’t aware of the laws in their state around voting rights, the majority of them believe that every citizen should have the right to vote.
More information about the importance of voting rights restoration is available here.
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About Stand Up America
Stand Up America is a progressive advocacy organization with over two million community members across the country. Focused on grassroots advocacy to stand up to corruption and voter suppression and build a more representative democracy, Stand Up America has driven over 1.7 million calls to lawmakers, registered over 100,000 voters, mobilized thousands of protestors, and contacted tens of millions of voters.