CHICAGO – High school students will have the opportunity to leave their school in order to vote under a new law passed by state Rep. Nicholas Smith, D-Chicago, and signed into law Wednesday, Jan. 22. 

“Voting is one of the most important civic responsibilities we will hold in our lifetime,” Smith said. “It’s important that we work to encourage young people to vote by removing barriers that could restrict them from making it to the polls. Providing an opportunity to briefly leave school during an Election Day grants our young voters a chance to have their voice heard when they may not be able to make it to the polling booth otherwise.”

Smith served as the chief House sponsor for Senate Bill 1970, which allows students to be absent from school for a period of two hours during the school day to vote, beginning the 15th day before the election, in a primary, general or special election. The new law is similar to the two hour right for employees to leave work to vote. Schools have the ability to specify the hours during which a student may be absent to vote. 

“Young people across Illinois deserve to be heard and given the opportunity to have their priorities represented,” Smith said. “This starts by making sure that every young individual who is qualified to vote has the chance to cast their ballot. I would like to thank Gov. J.B. Pritzker, state Sen. Elgie Sims and everyone else who worked to increase access for our newest voters.”

Rep. Nicholas SmithRep. Nicholas Smith

Visit Rep. Nick Smith’s website

Springfield Office:
282-S Stratton Office Building
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-6476

District Office:
113 E. 95th Street
Suite A
Chicago, IL 60619
(773) 783-8800