The following is adapted from the Tom Kachich's column in the News Gazette. The full article is here. (Scroll down past the sunflowers.)
The Champaign County Board has approved, 15-3, County Clerk Aaron Ammons’ list of early voting sites for the Nov. 3 election.
County Board member Jim Goss was among those who voted against the list, noting that the University YMCA site is close to the Illini Union, also an early voting site. Further, it would cost the county $14,000 — a thousand dollars a day for 14 days — to run the YMCA location, he said.
Early voting will begin Sept. 24 at the Brookens Center, 1776 E. Washington St., Urbana.
The following locations will open October 19 for early voting:
Also, if you request a ballot by mail, it can be dropped off in what Ammons called a secure drop box — most of which will have security cameras on them — beginning Sept. 24 at the following sites:
— TOM KACICH
The LWVCC is a partner in the Safe Vote Coalition begun by County Clerk Aaron Ammons and Public Health Administrator Julie Pryde. The Coalition's purpose is to share information about how to vote safely this November. Below are some recent updates from the Safe Vote Coalition.
1. The safest option is voting by mail using the postal service or drop boxes. Next safest option is early voting--best option if you're voting in person. Lines are shorter, available more days and times. Least safe option is election day voting--lines will likely be longer, more time spent at the polling place.
2. If you do vote in person, please wear a mask. All polling locations will be equipped with hand sanitizer, wipes and disinfectants, and masks for voters who forgot them. Early voting locations will have plexiglass partitions because election judges will be working multiple days.
3. Champaign County was featured in Time magazine article about the use of drop boxes for mail ballots:https://time.com/5881310/ballot-drop-boxes-usps/
On Wednesday, August 26 at 7 pm , join the League of Women Voters at a Webinar with United States Postal Officials. This Webinar will be an important virtual discussion that will address protecting voter safety during the pandemic and helping ensure that Vote by Mail is a viable option. Take Action, get informed, sign up for the Webinar. Register Here
LWVIL POSITION: The League of Women Voters supports registration and voting methods that ensure the integrity of the election system, maximize voters' unencumbered access to the ballot, preserve the secrecy of the ballot and ensure accurate and timely vote tabulation. Citizens should have the right to file complaints and writs of mandamus to force compliance with election laws.
WHY IT MATTERS: The League supports the USPS, one of our country's oldest and most trusted agencies, and the right of every American to vote in a safe and secure election. Recent steps taken by the Postmaster General have created confusion for many Americans about how to vote safely during the pandemic. We need the facts about Vote by Mail and voter protections so that we can inform voters about their options during this crucial election.
Check out the new video on the County Clerk's Facebook page. According to the County Clerk, "You can go online to request your vote by mail ballot right now at the link. You don’t have to wait to return your application. Here is walk-thru of all the info available to voters when they look up info or request their vote by mail." The video is about 2 minutes and a Facebook account is not required.
"Why We’re Polarized" by Ezra Klein will be discussed on Tuesday, September 8, at 7 pm, via Zoom. The discussion will be led by LWV member Kathleen Holden. The Zoom invite will be sent to all League members Tuesday morning.
21st century America is divided in many ways: race, religion, geography, class, and perhaps, most of all, political polarization. Klein’s book discusses how people psychologically tend toward group identification, and us-versus- them conflict. He writes that American political identities have become all encompassing, and subsume other sources of identity, including race, religion and geography, and are highly predictive of where people stand on various issues, as well as where they shop, what news they watch, etc. Klein writes that these “mega-Identities” are far more powerful than issue positions in driving polarization. Klein feels that this partisan divide poses grave danger to American institutions and democracy.
A companion book to read along with Klein’s book is ‘"The New Class War’"by Michael Lind. This book looks at global polarization and the wider global populist surge that Is seen in the United Kingdom, France and Italy, as well as here. Lind writes that almost all of the political turmoil in Western Europe and North America can be explained by the new class war. He argues that this war pits the working class against a small “overclass" of managerial elites- university-educated, cosmopolitan professionals and bureaucrats, who, though they represent only 10-15 percent of the population, enjoy outsized influence on government and the economy. The working class is rebelling against this phenomenon according to Lind.
Though Lind’s book will not be discussed on September 8, both books are worth reading for different views on the sources of divisiveness in our country and globally. Both books raise important issues regarding populism and polarization. These reads offer thoughtful consideration for voters to consider before the national November election.
The LWV-CC book club is open to everyone.
The next LWV book club will be held on Tuesday, January 12. The book “Caste" by Isabelle Wilkinson will be discussed, led by LWV member Paula Kaufman. This meeting will most likely be a Zoom meeting.
From the County Clerk's Facebook page, some good information on Drop Boxes. (Scroll down the Facebook page to find this message.)
From June 28-July 1, 2020 I visited three counties in Colorado, the state best known for its successful implementation of Vote by Mail. I learned that 95% of their voting population votes by mail and all three counties (Boulder, Jefferson, Denver) have over 400k registered voters. Champaign County has 120k.
I also learned that of the 95% who vote by mail, 65% of them use what are called DROP BOXES to return their ballots. Drop Boxes are extremely convenient, cheaper than returning the ballot by mail, and they are very effective in alleviating concerns about postal service delays.
Drop Boxes vary in weight from 350 lbs. to 750 lbs and they are made of 1/4 inch steel. There will be five (5) 24 Hour Drop Boxes located in these very public and highly visible locations across Champ-Urbana:
1) Brookens Administrative Building - 1776 E. Washington St. Urbana, IL 61802
2) Urbana Free Library -210 W Green St, Urbana, IL 61801
3) Illini Union Quad (South Entrance) - 1401 W Green St, Urbana, IL 6180
4) Champaign Public Library - 200 W Green St, Champaign, IL 61820
5) Douglas Branch Library - 504 E Grove St, Champaign, IL 61820
Due to the amount of changes with this election, the amount of time needed to service the Drop Boxes, and the fact that they have not been written into statute beyond the 2020 election, I decided to start with five. If/when they are written into statute as an option for all elections then I will roll out the larger plan to cover the entire county.
I researched Drop Boxes before my visit to Colorado, but the information I gathered directly from staff, volunteers, and the Clerks themselves, confirmed that we had to have Drop Boxes for Champaign County.
It is our hope that these five (5) conveniently located Drop Boxes will help voters embrace voting by mail. Voters will simply put their signed certified envelope, which will contain their completed ballot, into the Drop Box; no postage necessary. Once we have received and scanned your ballot there will be a check mark underneath your ballot tracking on our website.
Trained Republican and Democratic election judges will retrieve vote by mail envelopes from those Drop Boxes and return them to our office. They will have security logs and tamper proof seals to seal the transfer cases. We have implemented a way to track the judges and their routes and have an extensive documentation process.
(This discussion was originally scheduled for August 12 but was postponed. The new date is August 17, 12:00 pm CDT, 1:00 pm EDT)
On August 17, 2020, at 1 p.m. EDT (12 pm CDT) the national League of Women Voters (LWVUS) Chief Executive Officer Virginia Kase will sit down with LWVUS President Deborah Turner for a one-hour discussion on what lies ahead for democracy in America, and how all women can be active participants. This powerful discussion will examine how we, as women voters, can better elevate the voices and perspectives of women of color, how we can protect current voting rights while continuing to expand access, and what role we all play in the racial justice movement.
The conversation will be streamed on live on LWVUS’ Facebook page and will include a live question and answer portion to provide an opportunity for viewers across the country to pose questions through social media. Viewers are encouraged to share the event on Facebook with your followers and to use the hashtag #WomenPowertheVote when participating in the discussion on social media.
See the Facebook event at:
LWVCC has just released a video that explains - step by step - how to register to vote using your computer, tablet or phone. The 6-minute video shows how to use the State Board of Elections website (https://ova.elections.il.gov/) to register.
LWVCC has lost one of our treasured 50-year members, Louise Allen, who died July 28th. Louise was a dedicated member who valued the work of the League, as evidenced by including LWVCC as one of three memorials. You will be inspired by reading her obituary. Rest well, Louise. We will continue your work.
From the obituary: In light of the restrictions on travel and gatherings currently imposed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, there will be no memorial service. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the League of Women Voters, the University of Illinois Foundation or the Alzheimer's Association.
More information about Louise on the Member Spotlight page.