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New Law Gives Students Hall Pass To Vote

flanked by students, J.B. Pritzker speaks with reporters at a Springfield school
Brian Mackey
NPR Illinois
Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks with reporters at Springfield's Southeast High School in this file photo from April 4, 2019.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a law Wednesday aimed at bringing more young people into the civic conversation.

High schoolers of legal age to vote will be able to take two hours out of their school day to cast their ballot thanks to a new law.

Governor Pritzker praised the efforts of both students and elected officials who made it possible, saying they, "recognized how important it is not only to vote, but to make the act of voting as accessible as possible for all who can vote.”

Senator Elgie Sims, a Chicago Democrat, says he was motivated to sponsor the change by students who want to participate in the electoral process.

“I am so proud because they are the next generation. They are our children, and they made true to the promise that you are never too old to learn or too young to teach,” he said.

School administrators will still have discretion over which hours students can leave class to vote.

The law takes effect this summer, after the primary election.

Mike Smith is a graduate Public Affairs Reporting intern for the spring 2020 legislative session.
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