same-day voter registration

Sarah Jesmer

It started with a system glitch in the summer of 2016.

Hackers found a flaw in the online voting registration process in Illinois and exploited it. Illinois State Board of Election’s spokesperson Matt Dietrich said the board’s servers were flooded with queries, which are lines of code.

New Law Makes Voter Registration Easier In Illinois

Jan 10, 2018
Wikimedia Commons

A new state law taking effect this month makes it easier for Illinois citizens to register to vote.

Under the new law, if a person updates their information at a drivers’ license facility, that agency will send the new information to the State Board of Elections. The board will then send the updated information to the appropriate county clerk or election commission, making the person automatically registered to vote at their new address.

"Courtroom One Gavel" by Flickr User Beth Cortez-Neavel / (CC BY 2.0)

A federal judge denied an Illinois attorney general's office request for him to reverse his decision halting same-day voter registration at polling stations.

A Thursday hearing in Chicago federal court lasted just minutes as Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan denied the request.

He ruled earlier this week that, as-written,  the same-day registration options benefited Democratic strongholds, such as Chicago, and disadvantaged rural regions.

Lisa Madigan's office argued that yanking the option so close to the Nov. 8 election would unfairly deny some citizens voting rights.

Flickr user / kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) "Vote!" (CC BY 2.0)

The Illinois General Assembly voted to make same-day voter registration a permanent feature of state elections. 

Democrats allowed it for the first time in this year’s election. As with most changes to election law, there was a fierce debate. Republicans charged Democrats rushed it through and the changes open the door to voter fraud.

But Barbara Flynn Currie, the Democratic Majority Leader, says that’s not true.

Same-Day Voter Registration May Stay

Dec 1, 2014
League of Women Voters

Lawmakers will consider keeping same-day voter registration for Illinois' general election. 

A bill sponsored by State Sen. Don Harmon is scheduled to be presented today in a House committee. It would make permanent a measure passed last spring that allowed same-day voting registration and extended early voting.

The original legislation made the changes effective only for the general election.

Harmon says same-day registration was a successful experiment that's worth continuing. Republicans argued the provisions were intended solely to boost Democratic turnout.