Wednesday in Chicago, Governor J.B. Pritzker signed three bills that address issues regarding people involved in the criminal justice system, including one that requires a polling place in Cook County jails.

One of the bills signed by the governor, Senate Bill 2090, directs county jails to facilitate voting opportunities for certain inmates. The measure takes effect immediately and states that for in-person voting, non-partisan poll watchers would be limited to one per division within the jail, instead of one per precinct and requires in-person voting to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“We’re going to be putting a polling place in the Cook County Jail for detainees who are eligible to vote and a vote-by-mail program in every county across the state of Illinois, that’s 102 counties,” Pritzker said.

State Rep. Tim Butler, R-Springfield, opposed the measure. He said pre-trial detainees in Illinois already have the right to vote. And just like anyone else with the right to vote who is away from home during an election, they can request a mail-in ballot.

“We make it very easy for people to vote in Illinois and at the end of the day it is the citizen’s responsibility to make sure that they vote,” Butler said. “It’s not the government's responsibility to make sure that they vote, it is the citizen's responsibility to make sure that they vote.”

Butler said he worried about an increased potential for mischief by setting up temporary polling places in jails.

Wait a second, here. "Potential for mischief" in Illinois? Why, what ever could lead someone to worry about such a thing?

I mean, other than living here in Illinois and knowing anything at all about our state's colorful history of corruption.

A second measure the governor signed provides people leaving prison a non-partisan civics program within a year of being discharged. The third measure Pritzker signed shaves 90 days off sentences for inmates who join substance abuse treatment programs, or 180 days for getting each a bachelor’s degree or a master’s or professional degree.

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