UI student leaders' requests for early-voting expansion rejected

UI student leaders' requests for early-voting expansion rejected

URBANA — Student leaders at the University of Illinois say they have been rebuffed in their effort to get more early-voting locations on campus or extended hours for early voting before the March 20 primary election.

Because the UI will be on spring break beginning March 17, representatives of student groups say that the early-voting period is the only time most students will be able to vote locally, and they expect a higher-than-normal voter turnout this spring.

But County Clerk Gordy Hulten said the early-voting site at the Illini Union will be open for 46 hours between March 13 and 19 and that "at this time we do not anticipate early-voting demand will exceed our capacity at the Illini Union."

The student leaders, including Illini Democrats, Illini Republicans and Illinois Student Government representatives, had asked for early-voting locations at the Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall and Activities and Recreation Center in addition to the Union, spokesman Sullivan Peterson-Quinn said.

"We believe that those three locations, geographically speaking, really cover a broad area of campus, the north side, west and east sides. We requested those two additional locations," said Sullivan-Peterson, a member of the student senate. "After the county clerk rejected that request, the dean of students contacted the county clerk requesting one additional location, which also was denied, and requesting an early-voting extension period, extending the period a week before the current March 13 start date. That also was denied."

Hulten said that in the comparable 2014 primary election, 173 ballots were cast in the 10 campus-area precincts. The early voting location at the Illini Union recorded 190 votes, some of which were faculty, staff or others who live outside the campus area but voted at the Union.

"We can handle many multiples of that sort of traffic at the Illini Union early-voting location," he said. "We're running the Illini Union on the same schedule that we're running the rest of our early-voting locations. We think there's an essential fairness in treating everyone the same."

He noted that most school districts in the county (including Champaign and Urbana public schools) will be on spring break at the same time as the UI.

"We don't set the election calendar. The Legislature picked March 20 for the Election Day," Hulten said. "We've been telling people for months that if they think they're going to be gone, vote by mail. They have 90 days to request a vote-by-mail ballot.

"If having early vote open a week prior to the election is inconvenient for voters because of spring break, we would encourage them to vote by mail."

Hulten also contended that voters in Champaign County "have greater access to early voting than any other jurisdiction in the state of Illinois. We run a better ratio of locations to voters than any other jurisdiction. And we do more at the Illini Union in terms of making early voting available than the law requires us to do.

"And so the notion that we're engaged in voter suppression in a general primary election is laughable."

Early voting will take place at eight remote places in the county — the Union, sites in north, west and southwest Champaign, and in Mahomet, Rantoul, St. Joseph and Tolono — beginning March 13.

But it will begin Feb. 8 at the county clerk's office at the Brookens Center, 1776 E. Washington St., U.

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GLG wrote on February 02, 2018 at 10:02 am

The law should be changed to not allow students to vote in Champaign County, Let them go home and raise their parents property taxes! 

APC wrote on February 02, 2018 at 11:02 am

Yes. By all means, let's make sure that students (many of whom will be unable to return home to vote) are disenfranchised. America first!

Maybe we should extend this - only white male landowners should be able to vote.

Way to show respect for democracy.

capt80 wrote on February 02, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Ever heard of absentee voting? 

Educate yourself.

APC wrote on February 02, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Yes I have heard of it.

My question still stands - why would you want to do something that limits the ability of someone (who is able to vote) to actually vote?

My best guess is that you don't like the way they are likely to vote and thus must attempt to cheat them out of their vote.

Face it - you have no argument against allowing this procedure.  Your only response is to denegrate me.  Good job.

CallSaul wrote on February 02, 2018 at 1:02 pm

Yep. The rightwing reactionaries aren't even bothering with coded language and dogwhistles anymore. They just openly advocate stealing the vote from people they think will vote in a way they disapprove of...

cjw61822@hotmail.com wrote on February 02, 2018 at 7:02 pm

Hey I know


Lets hire a bunch of folks to go around to each students apartment and get them to vote..............


What was the student turnout that got the President of the U of I student council elected again?


Oh yeah




You wait................ AAron will have students voting 24 x 7............


You are aware Solle that Unit 4/116 are out on spring break........... how will all those parents who go out of town vote?  will there vote be disenfranchised too?  Is this the CC fault or Carol Ammons who failed to sponser legislation changing the date of the primary since the most of Champaign County shuts down................. whose fault is Sollie and who is going to bring me a ballot since I cannot find my way to Brookens to vote........................


nor the 48 + hours at the Illini Union...................


right in the heart of campus./