New law al­lows state’s stu­dents to miss school in or­der to vote

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAN­D - BY SOPHIE SHERRY

Stu­dents in Illi­nois will no longer have to worry about po­ten­tial reper­cus­sions of miss­ing class in or­der to vote, start­ing with the Novem­ber gen­eral elec­tion.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed leg­is­la­tion Wed­nes­day that al­lows stu­dents to be ex­cused from school for up to two hours to vote in pri­mary, gen­eral and spe­cial elec­tions or any elec­tion in which propo­si­tions are sub­mit­ted to a pop­u­lar vote, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease from the gov­er­nor’s of­fice.

The state’s pri­mary elec­tion is March 17, but the law will take ef­fect June 1.

Stu­dents may be ex­cused on Elec­tion Day or any day that early vot­ing is of­fered.

The law al­lows for schools to set spe­cific hours when stu­dents may be ex­cused.

A group of high school stu­dents from Thorn­ton Frac­tional North and Thorn­ton Frac­tional South high schools brought the idea to state Sen. El­gie Sims, D-Chicago, who worked with oth­ers in the Gen­eral Assem­bly, in­clud­ing state Rep. Nick Smith D-Chicago, to pass it into law, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease.

“The ad­vo­cacy of the stu­dents in my dis­trict con­vinced me I had to spon­sor this leg­is­la­tion, and their pas­sion helped get it over the fin­ish line,” Sims said in a news re­lease. “Sign­ing this plan into law broke down a bar­rier that has long made it dif­fi­cult for them and other stu­dents through­out the state to vote.”

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