How Kane County might combat same-day voter registration law

  • Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham

    Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham

 
 
Updated 6/18/2015 5:09 PM

Facing a $1.8 million price tag for implementation, Kane County is poised to ask Springfield politicians to back away from a new law requiring same-day voter registration at all polling places.

A state law that just went active June 1 requires same-day registration at all polling places in counties and municipalities with populations of more than 100,000. The new law followed an experiment with same-day voter registration at a handful of polling places in each county during the November 2014 election.

 

County clerks decried the change when it went live earlier this month because of exorbitant implementation costs. The November 2014 experiment cost Kane County $278 per voter registered on Election Day just to have the mechanisms in place at five polling places, Kane County Clerk Jack Cunningham said Thursday in urging a county board committee to fight the law.

"The conclusion by state lawmakers that it didn't cost much money to do this is ridiculous," Cunningham said. "Someone didn't do their homework."

Cunningham asked the committee to support a resolution asking for same-day voter registration to remain at a handful of polling places. He said county clerks in DuPage and Lake counties will ask their boards to also sign onto the resolution.

Members of the committee Cunningham reports to unanimously supported the resolution Thursday. The full county board must still take a vote before it would be forwarded to state lawmakers. Kane County Board member Phil Lewis said the impact of same-day voter registration doesn't seem to match up with the costs.

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"The great paradox is that our voting turnout is going down, and our costs to provide opportunities to vote is going up."

Cunningham said it's important for everyone to exercise his or her right to vote. But, at some point, it becomes an issue of personal duty rather than government cajoling.

"The next thing you know, they're going to be fining you for not voting or not taking a limousine to the polling place."

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