Same-day voter registration still an option

Prospectus News, Parkland College, David Saveanu

Photo by David Saveanu

David Saveanu

Staff Writer

Confusion has abounded during this election cycle regarding same-day voter registration in Illinois, and while it remains an option in the state this was less than certain up until a couple weeks ago.

A case sprung up in September around the idea that same-day registration is an “unfair advantage” to liberals, according to U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan. Until the Illinois attorney general’s office appealed against the decision, same-day registration was not going to be an option in this election.

The case lead to turbulence in Champaign county’s expected election process.

Champaign had been counting on same-day voter registration for over a year. Champaign County Clerk Gordy Holton says the goal was to “ease the process and bring in more voters.”

Hulten had spent most of his time focusing on how to deliver the news and implement the drastic change, just four weeks from the election. Lucky for Hulten, the case took a sharp turn earlier this month.

The office of Attorney General Lisa Madigan appealed, in what it said was the hope of protecting citizens’ right to same-day voter registration.

Der-Yeghiayan argued that the status quo benefited Democrats located in Chicago, while diluting the vote in rural regions, that would otherwise favor Republican candidates.

The law states that counties with populations that exceed 100,000 must provide same day registration at the polling place. Champaign, having a population of approximately 204,000, has the unfair advantage over smaller counties, as mentioned earlier.

The conservative Illinois Policy Institute began their case against same-day registration back in 2014, with it just recently coming to a head.

The attorney general’s appeal led to same-day voter registration carrying through until after the general election. The Illinois court of appeals ruled that briefings will be heard on Nov. 10—after election day.

Hulten says he is happy to be able to implement the intended registration and voting plans, having invested much time and money into bringing more ease to the polling place this year. The possibility of losing same-day registration in Illinois still remains after this election.

The registration deadlines remain unchanged: via mail by Oct. 11, online by Oct. 23, and in-person by Nov. 8.