Same-day voter registration is now the law in Illinois. It was tried last year on a one-time basis to see how it would work. Now it’s the law permanently.
Marissa Liebling, director of the group Just Vote, says most of those who took advantage of it last year weren’t new voters, they had just moved. “Seventy-four percent of Election Day registrants used the process simply because they needed to update their address. This means that Election Day registration is particularly important for more mobile populations. This includes young people, low-income individuals and minorities,” she said.
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The law also extends grace-period voting through Election Day. This is the process under which voters who miss the regular registration deadline can go to an early voting site and register, but they most vote there and then. The law also expands early voting days and locations, and requires state universities to offer on-campus early voting and same-day registration.
The measure was sponsored by House Speaker Mike Madigan (D-Chicago) and State Sen. Don Harmon (D-Oak Park).
The law has an effective date of June 1, so it will not be in effect for city elections on the Feb. 24 (primary) and April 7 (general) election days.