Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Prisoner/felon voting expansion completes Pritzker's grand slam

The Fair Tax ballot initiative, cannabis legalization and nation leading women's reproductive health are getting all the attention in Gov. Pritzker's first legislative session. But let's not neglect passage of SB 2090 which supports increased voter participation with two wonderful programs to provide that for Illinois' marginalized citizens. SB 2090 requires that county jails and election authorities collaborate to ensure pre-trial jail detainees can vote along with those of us on the outside. It also assures that voting eligible felons leaving Illinois prisons receive a voter registration application and information about restoration of their voting rights.

Bravo Governor and legislators who supported this measure to move Illinois closer to 21st century enlightenment on prisoner rehabilitation. Voting gives persons awaiting trial or completing their sentences a stake in seeking progress for society as well as themselves. But Governor Pritzker should not rest after signing SB 2090. Next up will be for Illinois to join Vermont and Maine in allowing its 40,000 convicted prisoners to vote in prison. Least anyone thinks this might impair crime prevention, think again. Vermont and Maine rank 49th and 50th in violent crime per hundred thousand residents.

A grand slam in your first legislative session is a great start. Don't stop now, Governor.


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