Illinois Public Act 101-0442

Unlocking Education, Registration, and Participation of Voters in Pretrial Detention

There is a myriad of scholarship, debate, and policy surrounding convicted felon disenfranchisement. This attention is immensely important. But what about individuals in jail who are awaiting trial, not convicted of any crime, and eligible to vote? This tragically overlooked population is often “de facto disenfranchised,” barred from voting not by legal prohibition but by barriers of information and access to voting materials. Recently, activists, legislatures, and courts have begun to work toward solving this problem, but without uniform strategy, progress is only piecemeal. Illinois is at the forefront of positive change with its recently enacted Public Act 101-0442 (“the Act”). The Act amended the Illinois Election Code to require that counties with populations over 3 million provide temporary polling places and smaller county jails facilitate opportunities for voting by mail for those eligible while incarcerated. This Note explores the Act’s many triumphs and offers remedies for its pitfalls, ultimately recommending it as a model for voting districts nationwide.

a. University of Illinois College of Law (J.D., 2022); Washington University in St. Louis (B.A., 2016). My sincere thanks the University of Illinois Law Review staff for their time and talents and to my partner Brendan and my family for their unwavering support.

The full text of this Note is available to download as a PDF.