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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Bill passed to help all veterans cast their vote in Illinois : June 17, 2011

By Eleni Demertzis, edemertzis@mysuburbanlife.com
Lombard Spectator

Lombard, IL — A Senate bill passed earlier this week will give all disabled veterans in Illinois the opportunity to exercise their right to vote, but first, Gov. Pat Quinn needs to sign it.

The current law allows in-person absentee voting at state-operated veteran and nursing homes, but excludes all federally operated homes and institutions, including the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital in Cook County.

“As someone who is constantly encouraging others to get involved with the electoral process, it disturbs me that there are barriers out there preventing our most honored citizens (veterans) from participating,” state Rep. Chris Nybo (R-41) said.

Nybo was the chief sponsor of the bill.

“They have sacrificed so much to help our country, and now some of them just need a little help from us to be able to exercise their right to vote,” Nybo said.

Senate Bill 98, which was passed by both the Illinois Senate and House of Representatives unanimously, will include all homes and facilities in Illinois and give all veterans a chance to vote regardless of their health condition.

The Lombard VFW Lilac Post 5815 and its auxiliary are grateful for this new legislation.

“Those brave and selfless men and women who have defended and protected our way of life should be accommodated in every way possible to ensure they can exercise the basic freedoms ... that too many people take for granted,” Post Commander George Miller said.

“Many of our veterans with disabilities are service-related and the prior exclusion of in-person absentee voting from federally operated veteran homes, hospitals and institutions where many of these heroes reside was disgraceful.”

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