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updated: 8/21/2014 11:25 PM

Could online voter registration affect election outcome?

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  • Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, left, is running for re-election against Republican Bruce Rauner.

    Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, left, is running for re-election against Republican Bruce Rauner.

  • Todd Ricketts

    Todd Ricketts

  • Video: Lincoln's ice bucket challenge


Illinoisans started registering to vote online for the first time in June, and the daily tally of applications is beginning to grow.

About 100 people apply every day now, and Illinois Board of Elections Executive Director Rupert Borgsmiller expects that to keep growing ahead of the Oct. 7 deadline to register to vote on Nov. 4.

"It's constantly ramping up," he said.

There's no way to know yet if the online registration will benefit any particular candidate on Election Day. After registering, people still have to vote. Also, people who are registering online might have done so on paper, anyway.

But the online registration is drawing at least some people in.

Borgsmiller and I talked about this Wednesday in a relatively short conversation during which his office received four more applications, for a total of 4,112 as of that moment.

Some are still pending, and about 7 percent have been rejected if, for instance, data entered doesn't match state records.

Local, local, local

Of those 4,112 applications, about 68 percent, 2,800, came from Chicago and suburban Cook County.

Plenty of people think suburban Cook County, an area Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn won in 2010, will be a key battleground between him and Republican opponent Bruce Rauner. And bigger numbers in Democratic Chicago could help Quinn.

Suburban Cook County accounts for about 700 of those applications, said Courtney Greve, spokeswoman for Clerk David Orr.

Perhaps not surprisingly, 400 of those 700 come from voters ages 18-34, who might be more likely to be first-time Illinois voters.

Online numbers are expected to jump next month, as the election becomes more real for voters.

"That's when people really wake up from the summer," Greve said.

Play ball!

Todd Ricketts of the Cubs-owning Ricketts family gave $50,000 this month to the conservative Liberty Principles PAC, a committee that made news in the suburbs during the primary for sending mail backing two Republican challengers to GOP incumbent state lawmakers.

Peter Breen of Lombard defeated state Rep. Sandra Pihos of Glen Ellyn in March with support from the committee, but Keith Matune of Downers Grove lost his bid to unseat state Rep. Ron Sandack of Downers Grove.

The group has been largely paid for by a $1.5 million donation in January by Richard Uihlein, founder of the packaging company Uline.

It hasn't reported any big expenses lately, but Ricketts' contribution is in its most recent report.


"This case requires us once again to decide whether some shenanigans in the Illinois General Assembly and governor's office crossed the line from the merely unseemly to the unlawful."

"Once again?"


That's one of the opening lines to a federal appeals court decision that sides for now with suburban casinos. The case is about $100,000 in campaign cash that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich requested from an executive for the Maywood and Balmoral horse racing tracks in exchange for signing legislation.

The money never changed hands. Blagojevich went to prison. You know that whole deal.

Thom Serafin, a spokesman for Arlington International Racecourse, wanted to make something clear: The Arlington Heights track had nothing to do with the case.

"We don't know anything about this," he said.

Illinois politics ice bucket

Finally, I was tagged online to take part in the ice bucket challenge to benefit the ALS Association.

My Illinois politics-themed video of the challenge can be found with this column online at It took four score and seven minutes to make.

Illinois politicians like Quinn, state Rep. Tom Cross of Oswego, state Sen. Pam Althoff of McHenry and state Sen. Chris Nybo of Elmhurst have joined the millions pouring ice water over their heads for a good cause.

We, however, got the most famous Illinois politician ever to take the challenge.

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