CHICAGO — The Cook County Republican Party is suing Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker in federal court over a law that would expand voting by mail, claiming it would dilute Republican votes.
Courthouse News reported on Monday that the party is suing Pritzker as well as the Illinois State Board of Elections and Chicago Board of Election Commissioners as well as Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough.
Republicans claim, according to the news service, that Pritzker violated Illinoisans’ voting rights “by signing into law 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.”
Originally written in February 2019, it was rewritten this year and passed in May with Pritzker signing the bill into law in June. CN said only one Republican supported the law.
According to Courthouse News, the law is supposed to be a temporary expansion of mail-in voting because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Republicans, represented by the conservative Liberty Justice Center, claim that by rushing into expanded mail-in voting, the state is skipping safeguards and developmental steps taken over time by other states that have expanded absentee voting, such as Oregon. They say that the state government, “one of the most inept in the union,” is not equipped for possible problems.
The suit also claims increased voter fraud because of ballot harvesting, where political operatives can pick up ballots and only turn in the ones that support their candidate. The lawsuit, according to Courthouse News, cited a case from 2018 where a Republican operative did exactly that in North Carolina. The Republicans also highlighted Pritzker’s push to give Illinois government employees Election Day off as a sign that’s what is planned. Many unionized government employees in Illinois are Democrats.
As of Monday evening, Pritzker’s office had not responded to Courthouse News’ request for comment.