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Law allows students to vote during school hours

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PEORIA (HOI) -- Earlier this week the governor signed a bill into law to let high school students leave school to vote.

"It allows students with the permission of school to leave for two hours on Election Day or during early voting to go and vote," Peoria County Board of Elections Commission Executive Director Thomas Bride said.

The change is thanks to students at two Suburban Chicago high schools that worked with their state senator to take their request for time to vote to Springfield.

"It's kids, this is high school kids doing this they saw a need, made a good point," Peoria High School history teacher Andrew Davis said.

"The legislative body agreed with them and drafted some legislation that the governor signed and that came from high school kids. That is something that I think added meaning to them that they can make a difference."

Students can register to vote during school when local organizations stop by but this is the first time they will be allowed to leave school for the polls.

"I said if you had this opportunity and you were 18 and could vote would you be interested in taking advantage of this and they all said yeah that that was something that they would like to do. They do have jobs, maybe transportation may be an issue so if they could carpool," Davis said.

"Obviously when they say 'hey I get to be out of school for two hours' that was a perk but they really did seem to say to me that they wanted that ability to exercise that right they have and for many of them it would be the first time."

Bride said this law is another way the state is breaking barriers when it comes to voting.

"Not just lock it into it has to be Election Day, you have to have been registered for 28 days before so I think the idea is to lower the obstacles to voting for everyone not just students but for everyone," he said.

The law will go into effect on June 1 which means students will not be able to leave class for the March primaries.

Stephanie Rodriguez

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