SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – State Rep. Thaddeus Jones, D-Calumet City, co-sponsored legislation that will help increase voting rights for those that have been previously been denied due to the arrest status.
“Despite the fact that they awaiting trial and innocent until proven guilty, many citizens are denied their right to vote,” Jones said. “They are still Illinoisans and Americans with the right to vote and we need to make sure they can exercise that fundamental right.”
The Jones backed HB4469 requires temporary branch polling in a jail or help with mail-in voting for those who are eligible to vote. Under Illinois law, anyone awaiting trial and not convicted of a crime is still eligible to vote, but many jails do not have a way for them to vote. Cook County and six other counties already have a system in place for eligible prisoners to vote. HB 4469 also requires prisons to provide inmates about their voting rights and assist in voter registration. HB 4469 recently passed out of the House Election and Campaign Finance Committee with bipartisan support, and is set to be debated on the House floor.
“Our county jail in Cook County already opens a polling branch for those citizens eligible, and we need to expand this right across Illinois,” Jones explained. “It is past time that the other counties get onboard with facilitating one of the most central rights in our democracy.”