Illinois held March 17 election amid criticism
Due to concerns over the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson last week issued an executive order to delay the April elections until June 2.
The executive order says that ballots already printed for the April 7 election may be used at the postponed date of June 2. Voters who turn 18 by April 7 will be allowed to cast a ballot.
“Given the growing concern surrounding COVID-19 and the large number of people elections attract, postponing Missouri’s municipal elections is a necessary step to help combat the spread of the virus and protect the health and safety of Missouri voters,” Parson said in a news release.
“Postponing an election is not easy, but we are all in this together,” Parson said. “We are thankful to Secretary Ashcroft and our 116 election authorities for their leadership, cooperation, and commitment to doing what is best for their communities during this time.”
Anyone who has already voted absentee for April 7 will have their votes counted in June. In addition, the absentee voting period has been extended. Voters may now request absentee ballots through May 20.
Voters can download a form to request an absentee ballot at sos.mo.gov/elections/goVoteMissouri/howtovote#Absentee. Completed forms should be mailed to your local election authority.
You find the mailing address for your local election authority at sos.mo.gov/elections/govotemissouri/localelectionauthority.
Illinois held its scheduled primary election March 17, prompting Chicago election officials to complain that the Gov. J.B. Pritzker should have postponed election because of the coronavirus, which they blamed for drastically low turnout and polling places that lacked proper equipment.
Pritzker said he did not have the legal authority cancel in-person voting for the election and accused the Chicago officials of “political posturing.”
“The Chicago board asked me to do something that is unquestionably not within my legal authority,” Pritzker said. “They wanted me unilaterally to cancel in-person voting on March 17, convert Illinois to an all vote-by-mail state and extend vote by mail to May 12.
Pritzker said he was limited by the state constitution and would not cross the “boundaries of our democracy.”
“If people want to criticize me for that, well go ahead,” he said at a press conference where he was flanked by Chicago health officials. “I’ll wear it like a badge of honor. Every step that we’ve taken during this crisis, my legal team has understood and laid out our legal authority to do it. We have worked with the individuals or entities involved to get to the right answer.
“All of them have stepped up to the plate,” Pritzker said. “All, except the Chicago Board of Elections.”