Friday, September 18, 2020
US flag

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

An Illinois bill now on Gov JB Pritzker’s desk for a signature would allow students who are eligible to vote to take up to two hours off on Election Day so they can get to the polls.

Senate Bill 1970, carried in the House by Rep Nicholas Smith, a Democrat representing Chicago, would allow high school students who are of age and eligible to vote a two-hour window on Election Day to leave school to vote in an election.

The bill would take effect in July, just months before the 2020 presidential election, and it has a few detractors.

For example, Rep Mark Batinick, a Republican from Plainfield, said he thought the bill “coddles” students, who would have plenty of time outside school hours to get to the polls or complete mail-in ballots, according to a Capitol News Service report. He also expressed concern that the bill doesn’t require students to prove they used the time off to vote.

But the majority of state senators and representatives voted for the bill and sent it to the governor’s desk: 74-40 in the Illinois House and 40-10 in the Senate, a vote that was completed in April.

“We want to encourage our young people to be engaged in civics,” Mr Smith said during floor debate. “Here is an opportunity for them to band together, leave school for a couple hours just like people do when they are at work, and go vote and return to school.”

School officials will be able to designate the time for students to be absent, but the primary purpose of the bill was to ensure that absences used for this purpose don’t count against a school’s accountability data with regard to attendance and therefore don’t cause the funding for the school to be reduced.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Students help in wake of Gulf Coast storms

Hurricane victims in the South got some much needed help from students at one Louisiana school. Laura and Sally have been very destructive.

Scientific American endorses a candidate

It's rare that a science journal would endorse a presidential candidate, but it has happened, due mainly to Pres. Trump's rejection of science.

Student news roundup, Maryland, Sept. 16

The pandemic reveals much more about us than our unpreparedness for virtual learning; Md. students look at healthcare and choices about schooling.

Smoke from Calif. paints the East Coast sun

The sunrise this morning in Baltimore and Chicago was cooled by smoke from the Calif. wildfires, which created a thick haze aloft.

Student news roundup, Illinois, Sept. 14

Special ed advocate in Evanston dies; Remembering 9/11; Business, fine arts, and cultural life during the pandemic.

No, the president can’t run for a 3rd term

The 22nd Amendment limits the number of times a president can be elected to two. But maybe Constitutions mean little to the current administration.

Worst Calif. wildfire season in decades

Wildfires in what could be one of Calif.'s worst autumns ever have destroyed structures, including schools, killed people, and mass evacuations.

Children will wait to impress others

Does it pay off to wait for a bigger reward, or should you just take a smaller reward quicker? The "marshmallow test" has some insights.

School opens virtually in most Md. districts

School is now in session across all of Maryland, and it's mostly online, despite calls to keep trying to get in-person instruction.

Student news roundup, Illinois, Sept. 8

The pandemic, performing arts, and politics generally led student news stories from the Prairie State this past week.

On Trump’s ‘losers’ and ‘suckers’ remark

It was hard to swallow when it was reported that the president said military personnel who had died in battle were suckers and losers.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.