On January 23, 2020, Governor Pritzker signed into law Public Act 101-0624, which permits eligible students to vote in elections. Effective June 1, 2020, any student who is entitled to vote in a primary election, general election, special election, or any election at which propositions are submitted to a popular vote in Illinois must be allowed to be absent from school for up to two hours during the school day for the purposes of voting.
What Does This Change Mean for School Districts and Cooperatives?
Under the law, students who are registered to vote (“any student entitled to vote”) may take off school for up to two hours to vote beginning 15 days before an election. Schools, however, may designate the hours during which such students may be absent. This period can be a set time for all students or could vary based on the individual students. Additionally, the school could require evidence that the student is registered to vote. These absences will not count for calculating enrollment under Section 18-8 of the School Code. Additionally, schools will need to ensure that student absences during the voting period are not reported in such a way as to impact enrollment calculations. Finally, schools should be aware that these rules impact all students, including students with special education needs, who may wish to participate.
Please contact any of our student/special education practice group attorneys with your questions regarding student voting rights.