Frerichs, Jakobsson Want End to Grace Period Restrictions
By Jim Meadows
Two Champaign-area legislators have gotten involved in the call to end restrictions on those who try to vote during Illinois’ Grace Period registration.
Democrats Mike Frerichs and Naomi Jakobsson both say they’ve spoken with Champaign County voters who had to receive an application to vote by mail when coming to Republican County Clerk Gordy Hulten’s office to register.
The issue was raised last week by Democratic County Clerk candidate Charlie Smyth.
Both Senator Frerichs and Representative Jakobsson say they want to improve legislation that deals with Grace Period voting. Frerichs says these obstacles shouldn’t stop someone from casting a ballot.
"I applaud efforts to stop voter fraud," he said. "But if suppressing voter fraud means that for the very few examples out there there will be scores, hundreds of people, turned away. I don't think that's the right thing to do."
Hulten, a Republican, says he simply wants to treat every registered voter equally, and that includes a duplicate check with other jurisdictions to make sure someone isn’t registered to vote elsewhere.
But Hulten says he’s willing to work with Frerichs and Jakobsson to clear up what they call loopholes in the Grace Period law.
"One of the things that I would like to see is to allow us to quarantine Grace Period ballots, much like we do with provisional ballots, until we can determine whether or not they're valid, and they should be counted. That would allow us to then have these people vote on the spot. It would be much more convenient for them, it would be much more convenient for us and a lot less work for us."
The two lawmakers say it’s unlikely any Grace Period legislation would be addressed until next spring.