Kane County Clerk John A. Cunningham is rallying colleagues and county officials to amend a newly enacted bill requiring clerks extend the grace period for voter registration to early registration and Election Day at all precincts, which would cost taxpayers $1.9 million. “It puts us in a bind,” Cunningham said Wednesday. “We have been working quite diligently and doing everything in our power to reduce the cost. We are trying to come in the back door and get an amendment,” the clerk said.
Last November, the clerk’s office was part of a pilot program where voter registration was available during early voting and on Election Day at five precincts, Cunningham said. His office had 700 people register. A public act subsequently made the pilot program permanent.
Then a new bill came along in December expanding voter registration during those periods to every precinct in counties with populations over 100,000.
Clerks must purchase new poll books, provide election judge training, update manuals, purchase new voting equipment and pay for more election judges, according to county records. Cunningham’s office estimates those additional costs at $1.9 million.