Illinois to allow voters to register online

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Illinois residents can now register to vote electronically.

Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation into law on Saturday revising the Illinois Election code that makes Illinois the 18th state to allow its residents to register to vote online.

“Democracy works best when as many voters as possible raise their voices at the ballot box,” Quinn said in a released statement. “Online voter registration will encourage more people to fulfill their civic duty by making that first step of registering to vote easier and more accessible. This new law will boost registration rates, cut costs and move Illinois’ democratic process into the 21st century.”

The move could help the state save a large amount on registration fees. State Senator Don Harmon said that to register someone to vote via a paper registration cost approximately 83 cents. That number drops to just three cents if it’s done online.

Online voter registration is part of House Bill 2418 – the “Omnibus Elections Bill” – which includes other provisions, such as:

  • Changing the hours for early voting on Sundays from 9:00 a.m. – noon to noon – 3:00 p.m., to enable broader participation;
  • Requiring the State Board of Elections to post precinct-by-precinct totals for all of the state’s precincts, and,
  • Codifying that votes cast for a candidate who drops out before election day but remains on the ballot will not be counted.

“Online voter registration brings Illinois’ election process into the 21st century,” House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie said. “Making it easier for people to exercise one of our most fundamental and significant rights – the right to vote – is good for democracy.”

States that offer online voter registration include Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

Four more states – Delaware, New Mexico, New York and Ohio – have modified versions. Online voter registration is expected to be in place in Illinois by the 2014 general election.

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Don Harmon, Illinois, Pat Quinn, States
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