Skip to content
Search

Latest Stories

Top Stories

GOP lawsuit attacks expansion of Illinois voting by mail

Illinois Gov. J.P Pritzker,  vote by mail

Republicans claim Illinois Gov. J.P Pritzker "snuck through" legislation that invites voter fraud.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Republicans in Illinois are accusing the state's Democratic governor of seeking to promote election fraud in November.

The allegation is the centerpiece of a lawsuit the Cook County GOP filed in federal court Monday against Gov. J.B. Pritzker. The Chicago Republicans contend the governor, by promoting the use of mail-in voting, is attempting to put as many ballots into play as possible in order to sway the election.

The litigation is a reversal of the normal narrative about courthouse battles over voting this year: Democrats suing GOP state governments for not doing enough to make voting easier during the coronavirus pandemic. It also amplifies President Trump's unfounded allegation that mail voting guarantees widespread election theft.


The suit alleges Pritzker "snuck through" several election easements that invite widespread voter fraud, mainly by allowing ballot applications to be automatically sent to all active voters.

GOP political rights are violated by "a partisan voting scheme that is designed to harvest Democratic ballots, dilute Republican ballots, and, if the election still doesn't turn out the way he wants it, to generate enough Democratic ballots after election day to sway the result," the lawsuit says of the governor.

The nation's fifth most populous state is the most reliably blue piece of the Midwest's electoral map. Its 20 electoral votes are a near lock for Joe Biden, who stands to extend the Democrats' presidential winning streak in the state to eight. So the lawsuit's success would mainly improve GOP prospects in down-ballot contests, including a House race in suburban Chicago, where Republican Rep. Rodney Davis is being vigorously challenged.

Sign up for The Fulcrum newsletter

Passed in May by the solidly Democratic General Assembly and signed in June, the laws will:

  • Deliver vote-by-mail applications to approximately 5 million voters across the state who have cast ballots in recent elections
  • Expand voting hours
  • Allow for curbside voting
  • Designate Election Day a state holiday

Illinois already has one of the most liberal vote-by-mail laws in the country, with no excuse needed to apply for an absentee ballot — which Republicans argue makes the new measures unnecessary.

The suit also takes issue with the deadline for mailed ballots, claiming it contributes to the potential for fraud. Ballots submitted or postmarked by midnight on Election Day will still be counted even if they arrive at election offices two weeks later.

Republicans assert that Illinois is woefully unprepared to expand its vote-by-mail system so drastically, citing the state's 2017 experience establishing automatic voter registration that was fraught with problems. The program mistakenly registered over 500 people who were not U.S. citizens as well as 4,700 ineligible 16-year-olds.

The suit says the new laws do not comport with mail ballot recommendations set by the Postal Service. It recommends voters mail their ballots at least one week before the due date; however, in Illinois eligible voters can still request a ballot until Oct. 29, only three business days before Election Day.

Republicans even go as far as referencing Illinois' joblessness woes, by pointing to the 120,000 cases of unemployment fraud experienced during the coronavirus pandemic as evidence the state is "one of the most inept in the Union and the public has no reason to expect a vote-by-mail system to work any more smoothly than a variety of projects Illinois has stumbled through in recent years."

The lawsuit asks the court to stop the laws from taking effect. It was filed against Pritzker, the State Board of Elections, Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough and the Chicago Board of Election commissioners on behalf of the Cook County GOP by the Liberty Justice Center, a conservative legal enterprise.

Read More

Donald Trump and J.D. Vance

Vice presidential candidate J.D. Vance, standing next to former President Donald Trump at the Republican National Convention, said President Biden's campaign rhetoric "led directly to President Trump's attempted assassination."

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Assassination attempt will fuel political extremism

Khalid is a physician, geostrategic analyst and freelance writer.

President Joe Biden’s initial response to the attack on Donald Trump, calling it “sick” and reaching out to his stricken adversary to express support, was commendable. Statements from other prominent Democrats, including former President Barack Obama and Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as notable Republicans like former President George W. Bush and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, echoed this sentiment of unity and concern.

In contrast, the response from some on the right — engaging in finger-pointing and blaming Democrats for their heated rhetoric — proved less productive. Vice presidential candidate J.D. Vance, for instance, asserted that Biden's campaign rhetoric "led directly to President Trump's attempted assassination," seemingly in reaction to recent comments from Biden suggesting, "It’s time to put Trump in a bullseye." This divisive rhetoric only exacerbates the political tension that already grips the nation. Instead of fostering unity, such accusations deepen the partisan divide.

Keep ReadingShow less
Hands coming together in a circle of people
SDI Productions/Getty Images

Building a future together based on a common cause

Johnson is a United Methodist pastor, the author of "Holding Up Your Corner: Talking About Race in Your Community" and program director for the Bridge Alliance, which houses The Fulcrum.

As the 2024 presidential campaigns speed toward November, we face a transformative moment for our nation. The challenges of recent years have starkly revealed the deep divisions that threaten our societal fabric. Yet, amidst the discord, we are presented with a pivotal choice: Will we yield to the allure of division, or will we summon the courage to transcend our differences and shape a future founded on common cause and mutual respect?

Keep ReadingShow less
People protesting laws against homelessness

People protest outside the Supreme Court as the justices prepared to hear Grants Pass v. Johnson on April 22.

Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

High court upholds law criminalizing homelessness, making things worse

Herring is an assistant professor of sociology at UCLA, co-author of an amicus brief in Johnson v. Grants Pass and a member of the Scholars Strategy Network.

In late June, the Supreme Court decided in the case of Johnson v. Grants Pass that the government can criminalize homelessness. In the court’s 6-3 decision, split along ideological lines, the conservative justices ruled that bans on sleeping in public when there are no shelter beds available do not violate the Constitution’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

This ruling will only make homelessness worse. It may also propel U.S. localities into a “race to the bottom” in passing increasingly punitive policies aimed at locking up or banishing the unhoused.

Keep ReadingShow less
silhouettes of people arguing in front of an America flag
Pict Rider/Getty Images

'One side will win': The danger of zero-sum framings

Elwood is the author of “Defusing American Anger” and hosts thepodcast “People Who Read People.”

Recently, Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito was surreptitiously recorded at a private event saying, about our political divides, that “one side or the other is going to win.” Many people saw this as evidence of his political bias. In The Washington Post, Perry Bacon Jr. wrote that he disagreed with Alito’s politics but that the justice was “right about the divisions in our nation today.” The subtitle of Bacon’s piece was: “America is in the middle of a nonmilitary civil war, and one side will win.”

It’s natural for people in conflict to see it in “us versus them” terms — as two opposing armies facing off against each other on the battlefield. That’s what conflict does to us: It makes us see things through war-colored glasses.

Keep ReadingShow less