On June 24, 2020, Julie Pryde, Director of Champaign Urbana Public Health District, gave an update on COVID-19 and its local impacts. If you missed it, this meeting was recorded and posted on the League YouTube channel. You can find it at this link, along with previous presentations.
WILL-TV's American Experience presents the two-part documentary on the efforts by women to get the vote in this county. The Vote airs at 8 pm Monday and Tuesday, July 6 and 7. Patterns magazine notes, "The Vote delves deeply into . . . controversies that divided the nation in the early 20th century---gender, race, state's rights, and political power." The two-part series reminds us that the 19th Amendment was not a "simple turning point" for all women, or for our country, but rather part of a much larger effort for social and political justice that continues today. For details, see the lead article here.
Join an online session on Tuesday, June 30, at 7 p.m. CDT to hear about important privacy and civil liberties issues that have been amplified by the global health pandemic, protest movement, and increasing police use of technology.
On the panel will be ACLU-IL Senior Staff Attorney, Rebecca Glenberg; ACLU-IL Board Member and Legal Advisor on Privacy and Technology, Peter H. Hanna; and technologist Harper Reed.
More information from ACLU 's action link.
This letter appeared in the News Gazette on June 19. It's reproduced below but here's the link to the original.
As the county gears up to extend registering and voting by mail to provide a safe, secure way to vote during the pandemic, charges of fraud are making people hesitate to use this option. And yet the facts show that these suspicions are baseless.
Fraudulent use of mailed ballots over the past two decades is statistically insignificant. According to a database on voter fraud compiled by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, of 250 million votes cast by mail nationally, only 143 involved fraud resulting in criminal conviction. This is 0.00006 percent of the total votes cast.
The data also shows that this fraud is practiced by individuals, not groups. In Oregon, for the period 2000-2019, only 14 cases of vote-by-mail fraud were found. In Colorado, from 2005 to 2018, there were only eight.
Another charge is that there is no assurance that the ballot mailed to a voter is filled out and returned by that person. But signatures are checked at the county clerk’s office, where staff also verify the voter’s information. Processing of mailed ballots takes place in the presence of a Republican and Democratic representative.
There is little evidence either that vote-by-mail advantages one political party. A recent study by Stanford’s Institute for Economic Policy Research concludes that both parties benefit from a modest increase in voter participation. Vote-by-mail makes sense for the coming general election. Voters should be assured that they can vote easily and safely from home, confident in the integrity of the process.
"Juneteenth is the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation – which had become official January 1, 1863.” (Quote from http://buyblackchambana.com/juneteenth/ website.)
The group HV Neighborhood Transformation, most recently known for their protests in both Champaign and Urbana, has organized a Juneteenth Celebration with a peace walk starting at Western Bowl ending at Beardsley park stopping several times for 8 mins and 46 seconds to pay homage to George Floyd. Upon arrival at Beardsley Park, there will be events celebrating the cultural and historical importance of Juneteenth. The peace walk begins at 4:00 pm on Friday, June 19. Everyone is welcome. More information on the walk and events at: http://buyblackchambana.com/juneteenth/.
On Saturday, June 20, bring family and friends to Douglas Park for a Juneteenth celebration, including including a performance by Chicago-based Ayodele Drum & Dance. The event is sponsored by Champaign Public Library Friends and the Champaign Park District. More information at the Facebook event or on the library site.
Today, the governor signed the much-anticipated SB 1863 bill. This legislation has several expansions and provisions for voting and vote-by-mail, including a statewide public education program, sending of applications to previous voters, possible collection sites for postage-free return of mail-in ballots and more. It also makes the General Election date (November 3, 2020) a state holiday. See our earlier post for more details. Watch for more details on implementation of this legislation as they become available.
From the Illinois League of Women Voters: Join us in conversation with state and federal legislators to learn how Vote by Mail will ensure safe and secure elections during this time of protest and COVID 19.
We grieve the murders of George Floyd and the countless other Black lives that have been tragically taken. We lift up the call of our partners at the NAACP: we must all vote in November – the road to change lies at the ballot box.
Join us on June 17 at 7pm for another program in our Promote the Vote 2020 Summer Election series.
Meet IL Senator Julie Morrison, responsible for IL SB 1863 that expands Illinois’ vote by mail program for this November election. She’ll be joined by IL Senator Laura Ellman. What’s in the current legislation and what still needs to be done?
Then we’ll hear from Congressmen Bill Foster and Sean Casten to understand what’s being done at the federal level to ensure safe and secure elections.
The program is sponsored jointly by League of Women Voters Naperville, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and National Council of Jewish Women.
All are welcome but, for security purposes, please register
(From the Illinois League of Women Voters summary.)
Significant strides in ensuring wide access to voting were made when SB 1863 passed both the House and Senate of the General Assembly. This bill now awaits the Governor’s signature in order to become law. Major provisions of the bill that apply to all election authorities include:
From the County Clerk's Twitter site: "We know the General Election will be different in many ways due to COVID-19, the County is still preparing for in-person voting. We need election judges to serve and be on the front lines of democracy! Application at the link with more info and details. http://ow.ly/SqEG50zYHhe"