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County clerk concerned about higher election costs under Voter Access Plan

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(WSIL) -- County clerks across Illinois are going to have to make monetary adjustments after Gov. JB Pritzker signed the Voter Access Plan into law last week.

The new law expands curbside voting, upgrades cybersecurity standards and makes mail-in voting permanent.

"I'm not really sure how we're going to make all these changes and make sure everything's in order," said Jackson County Clerk Frank Byrd. "We will deal with them."

Byrd was in Springfield meeting with other county clerks to get a sense of the concerns they have with the new law. The biggest concern, Byrd says, is the costs to maintain these new changes.

During the pandemic, Byrd said the county received a $90,000 grant that helped pay for pandemic-related costs. That grant, Byrd said, came from the Illinois State Board of Elections.

"We'll have to ask the county board for more funds to do some of these things," Byrd said. "We're just hoping that maybe we'll get some more grants from the state... but we're not sure yet."

John Jackson, a visiting professor at the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale, says Illinois is making a lasting impact on voting rights.

"It puts us as an outlier," Jackson said. "We're really going in the direction that the 2020 election took us."

That law moved the primary from March 18, 2022 to June 28, 2022. Jackson says the move is temporary 'because of the lateness of the census data'.

As Byrd gets set to make another adjustment, he hopes that voters pay close attention to the changes to avoid any confusion.

"When you change the primary date, all the other dates kind of coincidingly change too," Byrd said. "You got to make sure that people are on the same page.

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Danny Valle

Danny Valle anchors News 3 This Morning on Saturday and Sunday and reports Monday-Wednesday at News 3 WSIL. He joined the team in 2017 as a morning producer, before becoming an anchor in 2018, and reporter in 2019. Danny graduated from SIU-Carbondale in 2015, earning a Bachelor’s in Electronic Journalism with a specialization in Sports Broadcasting.

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