Over the past two days, Access Living and Equip for Equality have posted action alerts to build support for SB 282, “which would create full Accessible Vote by Mail.”  Thank you to both organizations for creating alerts.  Below is the Access Living alert. Please read the alert below and take action by sending an email to your State Senator in support of SB 282.


Access Living friends and allies,

Today ( posted May 1, 2023), we’d like to ask for your help to tell Illinois legislators that this spring’s elections legislation needs to include accessible vote by mail, also known as AVBM. While vote by mail is available across the state, it is not necessarily accessible for many voters. Blind and visually impaired voters cannot use print ballots without assistance. Other voters who have what is called “print disabilities” include many voters who have difficulty holding pens and manipulating paper. AVBM means that you should be able to have a ballot emailed to you, you can fill it out only, and then you can email it back.

Last year, disability voting advocates won the statewide right to have vote by mail ballots emailed to them on request. But you still have to print the ballot out, sign it, put it in an envelope, and return it. This process is inaccessible for many people. Leaders, led by the National Federation of the Blind Illinois, are asking for the community’s support for the Illinois bill SB 282, which would create full AVBM.

How can you help? You can send a quick email to your Illinois State Senator at this link. We need people to contact their Illinois State Senators NOW. For more details on the issue, read the below call to action.



In 2022, the Illinois General Assembly passed, and Governor Pritzker signed into law, SB 829/P.A. 102-819, which established a remote accessible vote by mail system that allows voters with print disabilities to electronically receive, mark and verify, but not return, their vote by mail ballots using their own assistive technology.

The Problem

Currently, voters with print disabilities must print, sign and return their vote by mail ballots to the local election authority by mail or in person. This requirement forces voters with print disabilities to seek assistance from a person without a print disability to complete the vote by mail process, depriving them of the right to vote privately and independently. For vote by mail to be accessible to voters with print disabilities, they must be able to privately and independently mark and return their vote by mail ballots as required by Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and affirmed by federal courts in Maryland, Michigan, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York.

The Solution

SB 282 will allow voters with print disabilities to return their vote by mail ballots electronically and ensure that voters with print disabilities can vote by mail privately and independently at home, work, or other convenient location, using a computer and their own assistive technology.  It will also ensure that electronic documents and web pages that must be used as part of the remote vote by mail system are accessible to voters with print disabilities. 13 states already allow voters with disabilities to return their vote by mail ballots electronically: CO, DE, HI, IN, LA, ME, MA, NV, NC, ND, RI, UT, and WV.  SB 282 will afford voters with print disabilities an opportunity to vote by mail that is equal to that afforded to voters without disabilities, namely, without assistance, and bridge the accessibility gap that currently exists in vote by mail in Illinois.  To read the full text of SB 282: Click.

The undersigned organizations stand in strong support of SB 282:

National Federation of the Blind of Illinois, Illinois Council of the Blind, Equip for Equality, Access Living, Reform for Illinois, The Chicago Lighthouse, Thresholds, Chicago Hearing Society, Disability Lead, Institute on Disability and Human Development-University of Illinois Chicago, Progress Center for Independent Living, Illinois Assistive Technology Program, Don Moss & Associates, Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities, Brain Injury Association of Illinois, The Arc of Illinois, Illinois Network of Centers for Independent Living

Please share this information with fellow voting advocates!