From Election Day registration to more time to cast early ballots, Illinois voters could see fewer restrictions in November, under a measure Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign into law. Democrats pushed the legislation last month on the second-to-last day of the spring session with the idea that it would boost voter turnout. However, Illinois Republicans say it is part of a larger effort to increase Democrats’ numbers at the polls in a competitive election, namely Quinn’s bid for a second full term against Republican businessman Bruce Rauner. House Bill 105, which comes in the wake of abysmal voter turnout in the March primary, comes as a record number of voter questions could appear on the ballot. That includes a signature-driven effort for term limits backed by Rauner to poll-style questions pushed by Democrats that wouldn’t affect policy. The topics include minimum wage, birth control and a tax on millionaires.
Quinn favors the same-day voter registration plan as a way to remove barriers for voters. He dismissed claims Wednesday that the plan is an effort to pump up Democrats’ votes.
“That’s baloney. We should … find every way possible to encourage people to participate in the process,” he told reporters in Chicago. “This is the essence of American citizenship.”
Ten states and the District of Columbia allow same-day voter registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Several other Democrat-led states have approved plans expanding same-day registration or early voting.