PNS National Newscast

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the Public News Service (podcast)"
"Hey Google, play the Public News Service podcast"
"Alexa, play Public News Service podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

2020Talks

Audio Activation
"Siri, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Hey Google, play the 2020Talks podcast"
"Alexa, play Two-Thousand-Twenty Talks podcast"
or "Alexa, what's my news flash?" once you set it up in the Alexa app

Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - September 23, 2020 


U.S. COVID-19 deaths double in last 4 months as total tops 200,000; poll workers in short supply as Texas registers a record number of voters.


2020Talks - September 22, 2020 


It's National Voter Registration Day. Plus, the Supreme Court and the nation's abortion debate are back in the election spotlight.

Vote-By-Mail Debate Heats Up in Illinois

A record number of American voters are expected to cast a ballot by mail for the general election. (AdobeStock)
A record number of American voters are expected to cast a ballot by mail for the general election. (AdobeStock)
August 13, 2020

CHICAGO -- With fewer than 90 days until the November election, the partisan divide over vote-by-mail appears to be growing in Illinois.

To ensure the safety of voters during the pandemic, a law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker directs local election offices to send vote-by-mail ballot applications for 2020 to voters who cast a ballot in the 2018 general election.

In a new federal lawsuit, the Cook County Republican Party argued the law is a partisan voting scheme designed to harvest Democratic ballots.

Ami Gandhi, senior counsel for the Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, disagreed.

"This law expanding vote by mail this year simply means that a large number of eligible voters will get applications to vote by mail," Gandhi said. "That doesn't mean that there will be random ballots flying around in the mail for voters who did not request them."

The litigation called for the laws to be blocked, and was filed against Pritzker, the state Board of Elections and local election leaders.

President Donald Trump has repeatedly asserted voting by mail has potential for widespread fraud.

A New York Times analysis found a record number of American voters, 76%, can vote by mail for the 2020 election.

Illinois is among the eight states where a vote-by-mail ballot will automatically be sent to registered voters.

Gandhi contended with the continued need to socially distance to prevent the spread of COVID-19, vote-by-mail is crucial to ensure voters' rights are respected.

"It's not acceptable to intimidate voters into a false choice of either having to abandon their right to vote or go to a polling place if they feel unsafe doing so due to the pandemic," Gandhi said. "Voters should have a choice of whatever voting option is safe and comfortable and healthy for them."

Other election reforms signed into law by the governor allow for the use of secure drop-boxes for ballot collection and raises the standard for verifying the vote-by-mail signature verification process.

---

Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.

Mary Schuermann Kuhlman, Public News Service - IL