Illinois Lawmakers Debate Young Voter Proposals

Mar 31, 2017

Credit FLICKR/ VOX EFX

Some Illinois voters found out last fall that it's illegal to take a selfie with their ballot.  

Lawmakers are trying to change that, and are inspired by what they characterize as young people wanting to share the fulfillment of their civic duty on social media.

Amanda Sunley is a sophomore at New Berlin High School. She says she probably wouldn’t take a selfie at the voting booth.

“I just think it’s like your own business like when you’re voting, and you shouldn’t take pictures and talk about it as soon as you vote."

 

But currently, less humble Illinois voters could be charged with a felony. The current law is meant to prevent vote-buying schemes. Individuals could use pictures of their ballot as proof they held up their end of the bargain.

 

This isn't the only legislation aimed at young voters. State Rep. Deb Conroy (D-Villa Park) has introduced a proposal that would allow 16- and 17-year-olds to pre-register to vote.

 

Another New Berlin student, Junior Erin Lakamp, says that makes sense to her.

 

“Yeah I think it’s a good idea, especially if they bring it into schools," she said." "Kids can get it over with and done with. Especially those kids whose parents don’t really push them to vote, or don’t really know how to do that because they don’t get outside help, it’ll be really easy through the school to do it.”

 

The legislation has support from Democrats and Cook County’s top election official. But others worry it could cause logistical headaches, as many 18-year-olds move away after high school.
 

In an e-mail, Rep. Conroy said she’s still working to attract Republican support.