Illinois has a rich history; Europeans invaded the region in 1673, and then ceded it to Britain after the Indian War. It became a part of the United States in 1818, naming Springfield as its capital.
With a population of 12.88 million, Illinois has 0.7% of it in prison, which is 0.2% higher than the average national incarceration rate. However, Illinois has a racially divided population that has its roots back to the time of slavery.
In a racially divided population, implementing fair, balanced, and objective voting rights to every member of the population is paramount. The Civil Rights Movement of 1960 had started the protests to end racial segregation and discrimination against African-Americans.
Can Felons Vote in Illinois?
The higher incarceration rates among African-Americans present a threat toward the minority group. Fortunately, Illinois is one of the few states that allow felons on probation to vote. However, it still disenfranchises the incarcerated.
Many people see felon disenfranchisement as a way for post-Reconstruction states to covertly remove the ability of the African American to effect change through voting. Currently, 2.2 million African-Americans are unable to vote because of disproportionate felon voting laws.
Fortunately, Illinois is not one of select states that demand felons for complete payment of fines before the restitution of voting right. Overall, 20 states, including the capital state, Washington, opted to do so.
Economically-speaking, fair felon voting laws help the marginalized the most. Specifically, it helps the African American community who experience workplace discrimination to perform their basic civil right to vote despite being economically-challenged.
How Can Felons Restore Voting Rights in Illinois?
Illinois automatically restitutes voting rights to ex-offenders. However, they cannot vote immediately after serving their legal sentence. Although they now have their voting rights, they must still follow several steps in order to restore their ability to vote.
- An ex-offender must re-register as an eligible voter before election officials will allow them to vote. Illinois State Board of Elections website has a printable copy of their local voter’s registration form.
- Ex-offenders must accomplish all the necessary information and sign the form to formally state that one’s rights are completely restituted.
- Contrary to popular knowledge, ex-offenders do not need to present a proof of final discharge along with the accomplished registration form. The form has an affidavit attesting that one’s right had been restored.
- Afterwards, they should mail it to the official address of the Illinois State Board of Elections, 2329 S MacArthur Blvd, Springfield, Illinois.