Voting made easier for students in Ilinois

Emma Murphy, Assistant Editor-in-Chief and News Editor

Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a bill on Jan. 22 allowing students to miss part of their school day in order to vote.
The bill says that students will be excused for up to two hours to vote in primary, general, special elections or any vote that requires a popular vote. Ultimately, the amount of time allowed for voting is up to the school to set.
The idea of the bill is to allow students time to vote with no serious repercussions for missing the school day. This will help students who may have sports or activities after school that they may not be able to miss to vote.
“Historically, voter turnout is lowest among 18-24 year-olds. Allowing students to miss school without penalty will hopefully encourage students to take advantage of the opportunity to have a voice in who their representatives are,” teacher Libby Day said.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the bill will not be put into effect in time for the state’s upcoming primary elections on March 17, but the bill will go into effect June 1.
Students from Thornwood Fractional North and Thornwood Fractional South brought the idea for the new law to Senator Elgie Sims, D-Chicago and he worked with his colleagues to get the bill passed.
Being able to vote during the school day will give students a great opportunity to practice their rights as citizens of the United States of America.
According to NPR, 23.7 million young voters cast their ballots in the last presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. That was nearly 50 percent of voters in the 18-29-year-old category.
Young voters will be playing a crucial role in electing the next president in 2020. Donald Trump and the nominee who the democratic party picks to run for president will be fighting hard to get the youth vote in November.
The League of Women Voters comes to H-F a few times a year to help students register to vote. They were at north and south lunch on February, 18 to register students who are eligible to vote in the primary election on March, 17.
“The League of Women Voters are advocates for all voters to be registered in a timely matter and be a part of the election process,” Co-Chair of Voter Service and Nominating Chair of the League of Women Voters Homewood-Flossmoor Roxie Williams said. “This bill will assist us to make sure no one is left behind: everybody has the proper time to get ready and prepare to vote.”
From some perspectives, there has been a wave of youthful enthusiasm for the political process, which can be traced back to the 2018 election.
“The average age of a member of Congress is 58 years old, but we are now seeing younger people elected to serve. In 2018, the newly elected Congressmen included 25 people under 40 (which is a record!) and this included the youngest woman ever elected, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Congress is slowly becoming more diverse and inclusive, and this is in part due to a larger turnout among voters aged 18-24,” Day said.