Last-minute voter registration plan goes to Quinn

  • Election changes being debated by lawmakers wouldn't be in place for the 2015 local elections.

      Election changes being debated by lawmakers wouldn't be in place for the 2015 local elections. Scott Sanders | Staff Photographer

Updated 12/3/2014 5:51 PM

Most Illinois voters would be allowed to register to vote on Election Day in their home precincts in 2016 under a proposal lawmakers sent to Gov. Pat Quinn Wednesday.

But Republicans were critical of Democrats who advanced the plan, saying big changes shouldn't be made before there's been time to analyze how November's election went.


For the first time, Illinoisans this year could register to vote on Election Day in certain locations. The Illinois House and Senate voted Wednesday to make that practice permanent and expand it to every precinct in big counties.

"We fought hard for a comprehensive package that will address year-round voter registration issues, which ultimately will enhance the accuracy of the voter rolls, increase participation and improve efficiency," Cook County Clerk David Orr said in a statement.

Republicans said there are some points in the vast elections proposal they can support, but it shouldn't be rushed when a new governor is waiting to start work next month. Republican Bruce Rauner's election, the GOP says, is a suggestion voters want both parties to work together.

"They don't want Chicago-style ramrodding," said state Rep. Ron Sandack, a Downers Grove Republican.

Republicans raised cost concerns for local elections officials, too. More voting options mean more demands for staff.

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If Quinn signs the plan into law, it would take effect in June. It therefore wouldn't apply to the local elections in the spring.

It also would extend in-person early voting until the Monday before Election Day.

Among the provisions is one that would require election officials to ensure that if they give out "I voted" stickers, they have enough for everyone.

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